About Us

 

We are committed to helping children and adults develop the skills and abilities necessary to Communicate for Life.

 

Our goal is to help you and those you love, share life’s most precious moments by assisting you in developing the best possible hearing and speech abilities at every stage of your life.

Our Practice
Our Agency

We are the longest standing and most experienced provider of speech, language
and hearing services.​

We are a not-for-profit agency serving Rochester, NY and surrounding communities.

"Communication for Life" | Here For You — Not-for-Profit!

Credentials

  • Early Intervention Evaluations & Services provider.

  • CPSE Evaluations & Related Services provider.

Agency Licensure

  • New York State Department of Health

  • New York State Physically Handicapped Children’s Program facility designation

  • New York State licensed hearing aid dealer under Article 57 of the General Business Law

 
Our History

Rochester Hearing and Speech Center began in 1922 when Alice Howe Hatton, a lip-reading teacher, organized the first meeting of the League of the Hard of Hearing. The League provided education, recreational and vocational assistance to hearing impaired adults and children.

Also in Rochester in 1922

  • Eastman Theatre & School of Music opens to the Public. 

  • First stop and go traffic lights installed in Rochester.

  • City’s first commercial radio station WHQ (later WHEC) gets 26th broadcasting lice issued in the U.S. and goes on the air. 

 
Organization Timeline

  • 1922, Rochester Hearing and Speech began. 

  • 1928, the League for the Hard of Hearing was incorporated as the Rochester League for the Hard of Hearing, Inc. First Offices were located at 91 Monroe Avenue.

  • 1929, the League became a member of the American Hearing Society, paying dues of $1.00 to the society for every $3.00 which came into the League. 

  • 1930, The Rochester League for the Hard of Hearing developed close ties to the Rochester City School District to identify and help hearing impaired children in the community.

    • 1930's saw the League evolve into a social service agency, emphasizing diagnosis and treatment of speech and hearing problems while still offering community education.

  • 1946, a committee called the “Council for the Study of Post-War Problems in Rochester” recommended that there by an agency developed to treat both speech and hearing problems of area residents, especially returning war veterans. 

  • 1952, the Board of Directors of the Rochester League for the Hard of Hearing voted to expand services to those with speech problems. The League became the Rochester Hearing and Speech Society, Inc., officially expanding their purpose and array of services to include speech and language services. 

  • 1957, the Society officially adopted a new name: the Hearing and Speech Center of Rochester. The number of clients served increased from 500 to 1000 for the growing agency. 

  • 1968, as a result of the community’s dreams of a unique way for rehabilitation agencies to share space, the Al Sigl Center opened its doors at the original Elmwood Campus, with the Hearing and Speech Center of Rochester relocating here, as a proud member of the Al Sigl Community of Agencies since its founding.  

  • 1969, Rochester Hearing and Speech Center’s services expanded to provide on-site services to day care centers, in order to reach children in their preschool settings.

  • 1973, the first Mobile Unit vehicle was acquired. The Mobile Unit Program began its mobile hearing services, providing hearing conservation programs to local industries, and later expanded to serving rural communities, group home residents and nursing home residents.  

  • 1975, RHSC purchased the area’s first clinical Auditory Brainstem Response instrument for testing infants and newborns. This instrument directly supported the Infant Hearing Alert Program soon to be established in Monroe County. 

  • 1977, the Center opened the Northeast Division, its first satellite center, to serve residents in the northeast side of the city and provide speech support for several daycare centers in the area. 

  • 1978, the Hearing Aid Dispensing Program began. It was the first program in the state to be approved by the Department of Social Services and the NUS Department of Health, improving services to clients by allowing RHSC to not only evaluate hearing and identify hearing loss, but also treat hearing loss by fitting hearing aids. 

  • 1984, the “Reaching Out” program began. “Reaching Out” provided comprehensive audiological services to seniors in the Monroe County Office of the Aging and Nutrition Center programs. The program also provided financial assistance for hearing testing and hearing aids with the sponsorship of Telephone Pioneers of America and Medical Motor Service. 

  • 1986, the Early Childhood Class for Expressive Language and Speech, ECCELS, classroom opened in response to the need for intensive speech-language services for children 2½-5 years of age. To accommodate increasing demand, a second classroom opened in 1989 and a third in 1992. 

  • 1989, the Assistive Device Demonstration Program, a free community service program, was initiated. The program offered clients the ability to try and borrow assistive listening devices other than hearing aids, such as TV listeners, telephone amplifiers and area amplifiers that would help them in certain listening situations.  

  • 1990, the Telephone Evaluation and Demonstration (Tel-ED) program began, in collaboration with Rochester Telephone, to offer free telephone consultation and hands-on trials to people needing amplified telephones. 

  • 1993, the Teaching Age-Appropriate Language for Kids (TAALK) program began in the spring, a center-based program to teach families how to help their toddler use language. This unique program included parents and caregivers, teaching them techniques to use with children at home to support their speech and language development. 

  • 1993, the Hearing and Speech Center of Rochester changed its name to the Rochester Hearing and Speech Center, a strategy to maintain community awareness.

  • 1995, RHSC expanded to the west side and opened our first Greece location, on Latona Road. 

  • 1996, in a collaboration with The University Otolaryngology Associates resulted in RHSC opening an office in the Highland Physician’s Office Building. This collaboration allowed seamless treatment for individuals needing both Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) services and Doctor of Audiology services. 

  • 2007, RHSC expanded to the east side and opened its location on Ridge Road in Webster.

  • 2008, the Latona Road office was relocated to West Ridge Road in Greece, improving access for clients. 

  • 2008, we also renewed our long term relationship with the Al Sigl Center with execution of a newly adopted Membership Agreement and continued to benefit from the support of the United Way of Greater Rochester; aligning speech and audiology services with United Way Blueprints for Change.

  • 2009, we celebrated Tawn Feeney’s receipt of a Career Achievement Award from the Rochester Business Journal/United Way. Tawn Feeney, after being a long time, 30+ year employee of RHSC as a Speech-Language Pathologist, remains an avid and strong supporter. 

  • 2011, RHSC initiated actions to allow for the addition of occupational and physical therapy to our service array by adding these services to our Operating Certificate. 

  • 2012, we celebrated our 90th anniversary with a 1920s themed dinner gathering at Oak Hill Country Club; we also celebrated our membership in the Al Sigl Family of Agencies as they celebrated their 50th anniversary. 

  • 2013, with the addition of occupational and physical therapy to our service array, we expanded our Speech-Language Department to become the Educational and Clinical Services Department, allowing us to provide a more comprehensive package of services to meet the needs of our clients.

  • 2020, we received our 13th Rochester’s Choice Award as Rochester’s favorite hearing services provider. 

  • 2021, we are celebrating our 99th year as the premier non-for-profit provider of hearing, speech-language, educational and developmental services in the Greater Rochester area, and we continue to help people connect and engage, through “Communication for Life”.  Here For You — Not-For-Profit!