1991

  • Founded by Dr. Robert L. Baldwin – initially known as the Birmingham Ear Institute
  • Founding Board of Directors: William Ireland, Fred Renneker, Houston Blount, Robert Baldwin

1997

  • Birmingham Ear Institute receives generous philanthropic gift from the Joe Bruno family to fund operations, hire full time staff, and open office.

1998

  • Hires first executive director, Faye McCollister, PhD, formerly dean of deaf education at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • Identifies need for newborn hearing screening in Alabama hospitals
  • Adds Board members Benny Larussa, Jr. and Herb Sklenar

1999

  • Birmingham Ear Institute partners with the Alabama State Department of Public Health / Bureau of Family Health Services (BFHS) to plan and implement statewide Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program in Alabama hospitals in collaboration with many other state agencies, including Children’s Rehabilitation Services, The Early Detection and Intervention Program (EDHI), Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and the Alabama Early Intervention System.
  • Large number of hospitals began voluntary participation after mentoring and training by Alabam Ear Institute audiological staff.
  • Four year strategic planning formally begins for Alabama Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program
  • Gala Event and Auction held at The Club raising $170,000 to help provide funding for AEI programs

2000

  • Name officially changed to the Alabama Ear Institute (AEI)
  • AEI Parent 2 Parent (P2P) peer support program began providing networking opportunities and educational seminars for parents of children with hearing loss
  • Federal Grant proposal submitted by AEI to Health and Human Resources in Washington, D.C. for $726,000 to fund four-years of Alabama Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program.

2001

  • Alabama Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) program officially begins
  • AEI Parent-2-Parent program implemented to network families raising deaf children in Alabama, offer workshops and meetings, and parent board for program developed.
  • AEI Parent-2-Parent program incorporates “Families Impacted by Hearing Impairment” Program in Huntsville, AL, a leading advocate of family services for deaf children who want to listen, learn, and speak, founded by Andrea Hill.
  • Alabama recognized in USA Today as one of top 10 UNHS programs in the country.
  • AEI co-sponsors medical conference on Cochlear Implants with Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Alabama Department of Education – “An Overview of Cochlear Implantation”
  • AEI Auditory-Verbal Therapy Task Force formed and conducts needs assessment for the availability of certified therapists for children born with hearing loss in Alabama
  • CHIC (“Culture for Hearing Impaired Children”) KIDS program begins: Culturally rich programs quarterly for children born deaf and hard of hearing, e.g. Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Hartwell Davis and Gayle Cunningham added to board of directors

2002

  • AEI Auditory-Verbal Therapy Mentoring Program begins conducting continuing education programs in the A-V approach for educational and clinical professionals who work with children w/hearing loss and their families
  • AEI Weather Radio Program begins distributing radios to individuals w/hearing loss to assist in notifying of weather related emergencies
  • AEI co-sponsors medical conferences on Cochlear Implants with Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Alabama Department of Education -“Cochlear Implantation: The Next Step” – “Cochlear Implantation: Alternative Communication Options”

2003

  • AEI receives federal grant from Centers for Disease Control to implement Auditory-Verbal Mentoring Program and begins providing mentoring services to professionals to increase the availability of therapy to families across Alabama\ – First program of its kind in United States or Canada to provide direct scholarship funded one-on-one mentoring in the A-V approach for professionals seeking to become Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists (Cert AVTs)
  • “Poison Noises” inter-active puppet show for elementary schools implemented to educate children on the dangers of noise pollution and its affects on hearing loss
  • “Every Kid Counts” program begins conducting culturally competent activities for children w/hearing loss to inter-act with their hearing peers

2004

  • 1st Annual AEI Summer Institute in Auditory-Verbal Therapy conducted to increase availability of training in the Auditory-Verbal approach
  • Dr Baldwin elected as vice president of Southern Section of The American Otological, Laryngological, and Rhinological Society, a national/international society of respected specialists that requires thesis for membership.
  • Dr. Baldwin hosts Annual Meeting of “Triological Society” in Miami, Florida.

2005

  • “Poison Noises” educational program adopted as permanent exhibit by McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL
  • AEI Auditory-Verbal Mentoring Program receives local and national recognition for exemplary service – Alabama State Department of Education: _“the difference an Auditory-Verbal approach makes cannot be over emphasized . . . your program is making a significant difference in Special Education service delivery throughout the state”_ – The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Hard of Hearing: _“AEI has become a model for other programs throughout the United States and internationally . . . AEI sets a new standard. . .”

2006

  • AEI conducts medical conference for physicians on cochlear implant research co-sponsored by Advanced Bionics Corporation.

2007

  • AEI Auditory-Verbal Mentoring Program surpasses 1,000 professionals/attendees participating/receiving training in the Auditory-Verbal Therapy approach
  • AEI co-sponsors Spoken Language Development workshop with Cochlear Americas Corporation

2008

  • AEI partners with AL State Department of Education to pioneer school classroom sound field amplification project
  • AEI initiates collaboration with local Office of Senior Citizens’ Services and Birmingham Speech & Hearing Clinic to begin HEAR 4U Senior Citizen Hearing Aid Program -Hearing aids provided at no cost to senior citizens who met financial requirements of program
  • AEI partners with Children’s Hospital and forms Alabama School for Hearing
  • AEI advocates for passage of Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill in Congress

2009

  • Alabama School for Hearing opens providing Auditory-Oral pre-school classes with individual Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions to pre-school aged children w/hearing loss utilizing a spoken language approach preparing them to enter mainstreamed classrooms -First Auditory/Oral school in Alabama – Housed at and through the generosity of Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • AEI partners with Congressman Artur Davis and Congressman Mike Rogers to donate classroom sound field technology to local schools
  • AEI advocates for passage of Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill in Congress
  • To date AEI has received a total of $3,300,000 in grants from federal, state, and local agencies, foundations, and other organizations