HSDC Seattle — The Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center of Seattle names Akoio founder to its Board of Directors

Born in Seattle: Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center

When people think of Seattle, they might think of the iconic Space Needle, watching fish fly at Pike Place Market, or sipping a hot cup of coffee at the first Starbucks. Over the recent months, Seattle made headlines as an early hotspot for COVID-19 and for their controversial “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

The Seattle Skyline and the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center Office

It’s fair to say that no matter where you live, life isn’t quite “normal.” These challenging times have disrupted our routines. And health care providers are no exception.

Across the nation, audiology and speech centers are in different phases of reopening. Seattle’s Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC), has proudly served the hearing, speech and Deaf community for over 83 years. But for the last several months, they shifted services online. So, they rely on staff members to work remotely and provide their services over the telephone or through video calls. And now, like so many others, they await clearance to reopen their doors.

HSDC Seattle and the challenges of COVID-19

The impact to individuals in the hearing health community is unprecedented. Not only have their appointments with hearing professionals been compromised, the mandates supporting face coverings creates another gigantic hurdle. Further, as discussed in an earlier blog post, lip reading becomes impossible without the use of a clear-windowed mask. Face coverings also pose difficulties for those using ASL (American Sign Language). ASL is the primary language for many Deaf or hard of hearing in North America. And, language production in ASL relies on hand movement and facial expressions for effective communication. So, HSDC Seattle posts COVID-19 resources and video interpretations on its website for the Deaf community.

Akoio’s Bill Schiffmiller named to HSDC Board of Directors

Bill Schiffmiller fitting a hearing ad on a Filipino child in need.

HSDC recently named Akoio’s founder, Bill Schiffmiller, to its Board of Directors. During a virtual meeting, HSDC Executive Director Lindsay Klarman, explained how Bill’s desire to “Conquer Life” — even though he “hears differently” — made him a great asset to the Board.

“When I met Bill, I knew he was someone that we needed on the Board. His work with accessibility in the tech industry and his philanthropic endeavors in the Philippines were definitely in line with HSDC’s mission,” said Klarman.

The HSDC Seattle mission

HSDC fosters inclusive and accessible communities through communication, advocacy, and education. Therefore, many of their services are free or provided at a reduced cost. They support a comprehensive array of programs teaching effective communication for individuals and families affected by hearing or speech differences. Services include:

The Future is Bright

The values and goals set by HSDC energize Bill. He stated, “I am honored to serve on HSDC’s Board of Directors and can’t wait to start collaborating with the other members. It is always exciting to be around enthusiastic people who thrive on progress.”

You Can Help — Donations Accepted

If COVID-19 has you cleaning out drawers and closets, HSDC gladly accepts donations. So, please consider donations of hearing aids, assistive listening devices, FM systems, hearing aid batteries, and amplifiers. Additionally, they welcome gently used office furniture and supplies, as well as, toys, games and children’s books. Of course, financial giving can have the greatest impact on helping HSDC reach and support communities they serve.

The HSDC website

If you would like to give, please send your items or financial gift along with a note detailing your donation to:

Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center
1625 19th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Join, Like, Share, Comment

At Akoio, we want to bring those passionate about hearing wellness together. Don’t forget to join our community, it’s free! Also, if you are “social,” please like and share our Facebook page.

We love suggestions! If you have a topic that you feel deserves attention or if you want to share your hearing journey, let us know by leaving a comment.

Founded by President & CEO Bill Schiffmiller, Akoio is dedicated to providing products and services tailored to the needs of people with hearing loss. A life-long hearing aid user and hearing wellness advocate, Bill was the former Accessibility Advocate for Apple, Inc., and received his Master of Professional Studies degree in Design Management at Pratt Institute.