Our Story

Center for Hearing & Deaf Services, Inc. (HDS) was established in 1921 as the League for the Hard of Hearing to provide social activities for people with hearing loss. From those modest beginnings, HDS has evolved into southwestern Pennsylvania’s only comprehensive service center for individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing (HH), or English Language learners (ELL).

Our mission is to provide a diverse and affordable spectrum of quality diagnostic, rehabilitative, and supportive services to meet the unique challenges of our clients. Our professional staff provide access to communication in order to increase independence and enhance quality of life for those individuals, and serve as an information and referral source for those individuals and the general public. HDS does not discriminate in its admission or employment policies on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

For more than 100 years, HDS has been our region’s sole non-profit provider of programs and services to meet those challenges. To that end, our professional staff have developed innovative programs such as: the first Chemical Dependency Program for the Deaf/HH population in the tristate area; an assistive listening and signaling device demonstration and sales center (ADC); a program providing activities for Deaf/HH youth and their families; a Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP); and the Pittsburgh Language Access Network (PLAN), a professional interpreting service which facilitates communication between native speakers of English and native speakers of other languages. Other programs we offer include: American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting and classes; Audiology services; and a Life Skills Development program. Clients in the Life Skills Development program are Deaf and have intellectual disabilities and/or mental health needs. They engage in training in academics, computer literacy, physical education, social skills, and Deaf culture. That provides them with the opportunity to experience self-growth through improved communication and social interaction. Another component of the Life Skills program is providing personal support to drop-in clients to read mail, schedule appointments, and connect with needed services.

HDS strives to ensure that the programs and services we offer meet the evolving needs of our clients. We retire programs when they no longer meet the need, and conduct regular community, industry, and self-assessments to remain at the forefront of trends, technology, and opportunities that can help us better service our constituents.