Heroes of the Week: HEAR Wisconsin Volunteers and Staff

HEAR Wisconsin (formerly the Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness) began with two neighbors in 1927 who formed the Milwaukee League for the Hard of Hearing, a group that strove to provide a social atmosphere, encouragement and helpfulness to the deafened in any way needed. The group became a nonprofit in 1944 and underwent a handful of name changes to reflect its ever-growing programming. Known as HEAR Wisconsin since late 2015, the organization provides services for every age, no matter the degree of hearing loss, with a mission to serve everyone regardless of monetary means.

The nonprofit’s operations include a sign language interpreting unit called CommunicationLink, which works closely with local businesses to provides professional interpreting services; a birth-to-3 therapy program for kids with hearing loss and their families; and a program that works with adults with developmental disabilities who also have hearing loss to help their independent living skills, communication skills and social skills through small group activities and field trips.

New to the organization is its own audiology clinic, which opens this summer and will feature state-of-the-art equipment, a renovated clinic space and a range of communication technologies. “Our new clinic is different than most hearing aid dispensers. Patients will be able to visit us and meet with a doctor of audiology and also, if they wish, meet with one of our Communication Technology Counselors,” says Keegan Mager, manager of marketing operations of HEAR Wisconsin. “Our patients can feel good knowing that we aren’t associated with any hearing aid manufacturer and can fit whatever brand suits their needs best. Proceeds from their purchase are also being reinvested back into our nonprofit to support our family programs.”

HEAR Wisconsin (10243 W. National Ave., West Allis) will be hosting its 90th Anniversary Gala fundraiser dinner on Thursday, May 19 from 6-9 p.m. at Discovery World. Visit 90th.hearwi.org for tickets and details. To find out about group volunteering opportunities, contact James Kubley at jkubley@hearwi.org or 414-604-7209; to make monetary donations or to provide other in-kind support, contact Mager at kmager@hearwi.org or 414-604-7230. To learn more, call 414-604-2200 or visit hearwi.org.