The Western Pennsylvania Lions Hearing Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the deaf and hearing impaired by providing funds for research, surgery, and hearing aids for those individuals who can benefit from new surgical techniques and devices designed to overcome hearing impairments.
Originally founded in 1979 as the Western Pennsylvania Ear Bank and Research Institute by Pennsylvania Lions Club District Governors from six western Pennsylvania districts, the organization initially collected tissue for research and clinical uses. As technology progressed, the Ear Bank became obsolete and the Foundation was established in 1986.
Today, the Foundation's board consists of two Lions Club members from each district in the western Pennsylvania region, members at large, and a medical director.
Since 1986 the Lions Hearing Foundation has been working with physicians and audiologists at UPMC Eye and Ear Institute to help individuals communicate and perceive sound and language. The Foundation has provided funds for Electro-larynx devices for those who lost their larynx from trauma or cancer, cochlear implants for those who are deaf, specialized audiology equipment to facilitate testing and rehabilitation of people with hearing impairment, and teaching grants to support surgical education of future otolaryngologists. Through these efforts the Foundation helps those who are deaf and blind or hard of hearing appreciate the sounds of the world that many people take for granted.
The current mission of the Foundation is to purchase auditory devices, especially hearing aids, for adults and children with significant hearing impairment who would benefit from this technology and demonstrate financial need.