Our History

The Vision of Ciwa Griffiths, Ed.D.

The HEAR Center was founded in 1954 by Ciwa Griffiths, Ed.D. As a dedicated teacher of the deaf, she developed the Auditory Approach: helping hearing-impaired children gain the gift of speech through early identification of hearing loss, amplification with hearing aids and training in learning to listen and speak.

Close friends of Dr. Griffiths and true believers in her vision, Glen and Margaret Bollinger gave significant funding to the HEAR Center to expand her vision. In January of 1969 they broke ground on their headquarters in Pasadena, CA.

Dr. Griffiths promoted the idea that if you place hearing aids on children identified with hearing loss at a young age, the child could had a significantly increased chance of learning to speak normally. She had studied the specialized education of deaf children in London with educators who were performing ground-breaking research. It was there that Dr. Griffiths first observed the impact of early amplification.

She vigorously and emphatically shared the truth that there are varying degrees of hearing loss and that the evaluation of hearing ability at an early age was critical to the quality of life for these children. Her advocacy for not giving up on children that others were ready to dismiss as totally deaf helped to bring about the awareness that these children could learn to listen and speak.

The application of Dr. Griffith's Auditory Approach, while initially scoffed at by the medical establishment of the time, has become standard operating procedure in hospitals across the nation. Throughout the years, the HEAR Center has become internationally recognized for its innovative and extensive testing and therapy programs.