The story behind how Lions Hearing Clinics began is both special and humble. It was born out of passion and dedication from a young couple heavily committed to their Lions Club – Lorna and Arthur Dodd.
It began in 1977 with Don MacGregor, District Governor of Lions Clubs Western Australia at the time, creating the Lions Hearing Foundation. He asked Arthur Dodd to be Chairman, and it was formed to serve as a charitable service in WA, to work in the field of hearing conservation and to help the hearing impaired.
Arthur Dodd got straight onto it with the tireless help of his wife Lorna, spending every weekend driving across the State, as far north as Northampton and down as far as Busselton, doing hearing testing in the Help to Hear bus. A car full of training audiologists would follow and they would hold clinics for people. Arthur Dodd carried on this honourable work until his passing in 1992; Lorna continued on.
Over the years the Lions Hearing Foundation picked up a lot of hearing loss that was not being detected. The biggest challenge was getting people to accept they had a hearing problem – an issue we still experience today!
In the early 1980s, Don, Arthur and Lorna were helping so many people that they realised more needed to be done. The Lions Save Sight Foundation already operated out of Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, so it was decided that it would be shared with the Lions Hearing Foundation and from there it began to grow.
Fast forward to 2001 when Marcus Atlas founded Ear Science Institute Australia. He had a vision for the future of ear and hearing care and was asked to do something more with the Lions Hearing Foundation, which was now operating out of two small-scale clinics across the Perth metro area.
That year saw the start of Lion’s Ear and Hearing Institute (now Ear Science Institute Australia) and then in 2014 the Lions Hearing Clinic name was solidified, becoming the brand we are all familiar with today, owned and operated by Ear Science Institute Australia. What began with Lorna and Arthur and a bus travelling the state to help people with hearing loss, has now grown to 16 clinics that provide exceptional ear and hearing care to our patients, from Bunbury to Lancelin.
The true heart of Lions Hearing Clinics came from Lorna and Arthur’s legacy and their passion for helping the community to hear. That is still the case – our Institute doesn’t belong to one person, it belongs to the people of WA, and very much to the Lions Clubs of WA with its humble beginnings.
As we now start to look forward and celebrate our 20th anniversary, we continue to focus on translating our research into the clinics and into patient-focused care. The Ear Science Implant Program leads the way in combining research and the latest technology with a multidisciplinary team of Perth’s leading ear surgeons and experienced implant audiologists working alongside neurologists, radiologists, psychologists, speech pathologists and physiotherapists. Our implant program guides and supports each person through their individual hearing implant journey.
As the official World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for ear and hearing health, we are working hard on finding a cure for tomorrow and treatments for today, still upholding the passion and dedication of Lorna and Arthur Dodd.