MSHC collaboration with Mid-South Lions provides access/hope to low income patients

by Hannah Rae Vaden

Dr. Eileen Smith, clinical assistant professor and clinical audiologist with the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center, facilitated an alliance between MSHC and the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, an area non-profit, when she came to the University of Memphis in 2013. As part of their mission, the Mid-South Lions provide access to vision and hearing services for underserved individuals in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. MSHC’s collaboration with the Mid-South Lions benefits the Mid-South region and provides a clinical training opportunity for University of Memphis students. 

The Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service was formed in 1942 by a group of Memphis area Lions Club chapters. The non-profit was initially created to serve low-income individuals with vision impairments. Beginning in 1990, the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service began to offer access to hearing services as well. Today, Mid-South Lions is supported by local clubs in west Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. Hearing services are provided to patients who are sponsored by their local Lions Club chapter following an application process. 

The Lions Club collaborates with clinicians who are willing to donate their services leaving no charge to patients or the organization. At MSHC, underserved individuals can access hearing services, including hearing testing, hearing devices, and hearing device fitting and follow up services with no associated financial burden. Sponsoring Lions Club chapters and partner manufacturers who support the Club’s goal of improved communication for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals cover the cost of devices. As a result, typically underserved patients, including those with lower SES and racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, are able to access hearing services.  Student clinicians have the opportunity to work with a more diverse group of patients and gain independence in clinical testing thanks to the collaboration. 

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