Chicago Hearing Society: 2019-2020

Washington Square Health Foundation provided support to the Chicago Hearing Society (CHS) audiology clinic to ensure patients have the best possible hearing health care. 

CHS is a leader in advocacy and services for people who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing throughout Illinois. CHS serves people who would otherwise have no place to turn: from ASL interpreter services, to domestic violence assistance, to youth services, ASL classes, an audiology clinic, and more. CHS bridges the gap between the Deaf and hearing communities. Studies show that audiology clinics and hearing aid dispensers only serve 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids—and cost is often the biggest barrier. CHS aims to change this by providing hearing aids to patients on Medicaid. 

WSHF’s gift allowed CHS to update their audiology equipment with the latest testing equipment for improved assessments and better patient outcomes. The testing confirms that patients will receive hearing aid fittings based upon their individual needs. CHS patients’ hearing aids are fit to evidence-based prescriptions rather than simulated prescriptions. This has a huge impact on patients like Bill, who received customized hearing aids free of charge because of CHS’s generous donors.

A well-known member and advocate in the Deaf community, Bill says that he’s always lived on the fence between the Deaf and hearing communities. This has made him feel like “an eternal outsider,” but that hasn’t stopped him from helping others. “My passion is to make a difference in the community,” Bill shares. And Bill has used his experiences to benefit those around him. When working at a social service agency, he taught clients with developmental disabilities how to use ASL so they could communicate more effectively. Each day, Bill continues to give back to the Chicago community through his kindness, creativity, and advocacy.

For Bill, having hearing aids mean more than just hearing the world around him: it allows him independence. “My primary purpose is to take care of myself. I enjoy my independence.” Thanks to WSHF’s generosity, CHS can provide the best possible services to its over 1500 patients each year.