Canadian Hearing Services, originally called the National Society of the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, was founded in 1940 by Dr. Harry E. Amoss, Helen McMurrich, Daisy Moss, Lewis Wood, and Dr. Lorne Pierce as “an organization which would further the cause of deaf and hard of hearing people”. Key to the direction of the organization was to support the value of Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons as productive, contributing and independent members of society.
Innovation, health care and service excellence have always been at the core of Canadian Hearing Services vision: to advance a barrier-free society for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians.
From its inception, Canadian Hearing Services has played a significant role in supporting and meeting the needs of the Deaf and hard of hearing. Canadian Hearing Services has worked diligently to champion accessibility in the workplace in such sectors as healthcare, education and the legal field. In addition, as a service provider, Canadian Hearing Services has always strived to provide a broad range of products and services that serve to remove barriers to communication, advance hearing health, and promote equity.
Some key historical achievements and milestones include:
1945 – Employment Services launches
Herb Montgomery travelled by car, small plane, and bus in search of jobs for Canadians who were Deaf and hard of hearing. Employment Services has expanded to 11 offices across Ontario.
1956 – Name change
The National Society of the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing changed its name to “The Canadian Hearing Society” based on the recommendation of a Board member first suggested in September 1946. The rationale for the Board member’s suggestion was that brevity of the new name would be better suited to promoting the organization, and that its broadness would indicate that the organization would serve ALL who are concerned about hearing…”its conservation, its amplification, and its loss”.
1967 – First audiologist hired
Canadian Hearing Society’s first clinical audiologist, Errol Davis, M.A., was hired. The Canadian Hearing Society provided the only independent hearing aid selection service in Toronto and set the standard for audiology clinics in teaching hospitals throughout Ontario. Over the years, clinics have expanded to include nine locations across Ontario.
1976 – Text Telephone / Teletype Terminal / TeleTYpewriter (TTY) national directory
The Canadian Hearing Society published the first TTY national directory, and also pioneered the first TTY network across Ontario.
1984 – Educational Support Program launched
The Canadian Hearing Society started a program, Educational Support Services, to provide access to interpreting, captioning and note-taking for part-time students in post-secondary institutions.
1986 – Bell Relay launched
After 10 years of lobbying, petitioning and hard work by The Canadian Hearing Society, the Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD), CHHA, and others, the CRTC ordered Bell Canada to set up a 24/7 relay service in Ontario and Quebec. For the first time, people who were Deaf and hard of hearing were not dependent on others to make calls for them.
1993 – ASL and LSQ are recognized as official languages of instruction
American Sign Language (ASL) and la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) were officially recognized as the languages of instruction in the classroom after advocacy efforts by The Canadian Hearing Society, MPP Richard Johnson, the Deaf Children’s Society, OAD, VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children, and CHHA Ontario.
2002 – Emergency Interpreting Services launched
The Canadian Hearing Society established an after-hours health and mental health-related emergency interpreting service. In 2011, Emergency Interpreting Services expanded to run 24/7/365 for emergencies occurring in: hospital emergency rooms; after-hours medical clinics; crisis centres; shelters; police services; court settings; and child welfare cases.
2017 – New Strategic Plan
In June 2017, the Board of Directors of The Canadian Hearing Society approved a strategic plan for 2017 – 2020. The ultimate goal of the 2017 - 2020 Strategic Plan is to achieve a new level of national leadership though the delivery of a focused, more impactful range of services and products based on their community importance, financial sustainability and the organization’s ability to deliver them professionally and consistently.
2018 – Primer Accreditation Status
The Canadian Hearing Society successfully achieved Primer Accreditation Status with Accreditation Canada. The accreditation process assesses health care and social services organizations against best standards of excellence across Canada and the world. The Canadian Hearing Society is the first organization in Canada focused on the care of Deaf or hard-of-hearing persons to have ever been granted accreditation.
2020 – Rebrand
In January 2020, The Canadian Hearing Society unveiled its new name and logo. The Canadian Hearing Society will now be known as Canadian Hearing Services, better reflecting our role as a multi-faceted service provider to the Deaf and hard of hearing community to ensure accessibility. The rebranding also reaffirms Canadian Hearing Services’ commitment to achieving the highest standards in hearing health care and setting a benchmark for the industry.
To reflect this, Canadian Hearing Services new mantra, Raising the Bar, is designed to both challenge the organization to continue to deliver the best services and products and to never settle on past successes.