ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The Rochester Hearing and Speech Center is celebrating 100 years of serving the greater Rochester region.  

News 8’s Ally Peters sat down with the President and CEO of RHSC, Bob Russell, to discuss the impact the non-profit has had over the years. 

“It’s pretty amazing as a not-for-profit agency to be able to celebrate a milestone like this, and we’ve really been celebrating it throughout the course of the year in small little chunks,” Russell said. “We’ve been very honored to get a lot of recognition from the public and from our local governments that want to help us to celebrate that.”

As Monroe County’s longest-standing provider of hearing health, Russell said they have worked with thousands of people over the years, whether adults or children.

“I tell people, we are only here celebrating because of the public and because of the community that’s been there to support us and needs our services, whether it’s speech, whether it’s hearing and everything in between,” Russell said. 

Russell said one of the best parts of their work is getting to work with people throughout their lives, helping to make a difference in how they hear or see.

“A lot of the kids that are coming to us, whether it’s for speech therapy, occupational physical therapy, we’re trying to help them get prepared to go into a classroom setting to be able to fully be able to integrate, regardless of what their disabilities are, and we actually have people that started with us as children, coming for services, whether it was for stuttering or some other issues. And now they’re adults who are retired, coming to us for hearing help,” Russell said. 

“We’ve really been able to sit back and see these stories come to life this year, especially because there’s something about a special anniversary that people want to tell you the impact that you’ve had on their lives and on their family’s life, too, and that’s what makes it fun to get up every day and, and go to work.”

Currently, RHSC has a number of ongoing efforts in our local community, including the Hearing Health Initiative in partnership with the Monroe County Department of Health. 

“It’s a public health crisis right now, hearing, because every day around us, whether it’s a work environment, whether it’s recreational, there’s hearing problems that people are dealing with, especially the under 30 audiences, believe it or not as the fastest growing demographic for hearing loss, because there are so many gamers, or because we’ve always got earbuds and listening to our music and our phones,” Russell said.

“So this initiative is meant to really bring that conversation to the public, that hearing health and hearing loss can affect anybody at any age.”

To celebrate 100 years, RHSC is hosting a Roaring Twenties Centennial Gala on Saturday, September 10 at 6 p.m. at the Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford. 

The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by clicking here.