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Our History

Dedicated to hearing loss for over a century

Access our in-depth answers to all your hearing loss questions, from early intervention, to hearing technology, to planning for higher ed and beyond!

Advocacy for the deaf and hard of hearing

Founded in 1887 by Alexander Graham Bell, AG Bell initially started as the Volta Bureau, focusing on improving education and welfare for the deaf. While Bell is best known for inventing the telephone, he dedicated much of his life to supporting the deaf and hard of hearing, especially children.

Today, AG Bell operates from the original Volta Bureau building in Washington, DC, continuing its mission to help deaf and hard of hearing children hear, speak, and thrive.

AG Bell's history of advocacy means that


of newborns receive a hearing test through the Newborn Hearing Screening Act

Our Mission

A life without limits for everyone with hearing loss

We work globally to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and talk.

Our dream is that all families to be informed and supported, professionals to be appropriately qualified to teach and help children with hearing loss, public policy leaders to effectively address the needs of people with hearing loss, and communities to be empowered to help their neighbors with hearing loss succeed.

About Alexander Graham Bell

The legacy and history of Alexander Graham Bell

Long before he gained celebrity as an inventor, Alexander Graham Bell was a noted elocutionist and teacher of the deaf. As the son of a deaf mother and the husband of a deaf wife, Bell’s lifelong dedication to the hard of hearing formed the basis for much of his original research into the telephone.

AG Bell was founded in 1887 by Alexander Graham Bell himself. Although he is best known as the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell actually devoted much more of this life to helping people who were deaf or hard of hearing, especially children.

Want to learn more about his work and legacy?

AG Bell membership for families is always free!

Family membership benefits:

  • Financial Support

    Scholarships for technology, therapy, and education

  • Professional Guidance

    Speak to a parent who's been there or search for a certified therapist.

  • State Chapters

    Connect with and get support from local families like yours!

  • Resource Library

    Get answers with access to our information library

  • Volta Voices

    A bilingual magazine with in-depth stories about growing up with hearing loss

  • Loft & Leap

    Access to unique leadership & educational programs for teens

Seeking an AG Bell professional membership?

Get listed on our searchable professional directory, find educational and research resources, scholarships and mentorship.

Professional Membership Has Its Benefits

Join today to connect with fellow members, exchange insights, get listed in our global directory, and celebrate the journey of listening & spoken language.

Professional benefits include:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

    Earn CEUs through the AG Bell Academy, at our yearly Symposium, or through events held throughout the year for members

  • $100 off Exam Fees

    Take your Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS®) certification exam for less!

  • Event Discounts

    Discounted registration to AG Bell’s symposium and other events, plus special discounts on travel, restaurants, retail shops and more

  • LSL Professional Directory

    Get listed and found by families that need your services and students that want your mentorship

  • LSL Leading Edge

    An exclusive e-newsletter for AG Bell professional members packed with the latest news and developments in hearing health and the listening & spoken language field

  • Volta Voices 

    AG Bell’s award-winning, quarterly digital magazine in English and Spanish

  • Access to AG Bell’s Network

    Connect with 40+ state chapters located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico

  • Professional Opportunities

    Get involved in AG Bell through committees, task forces, councils and other venues for members to interact and contribute meaningfully

  • The Volta Review 

    Stay current with the latest research through our peer-reviewed, online professional research journal

Seeking membership as a friend or family member?

Membership is always free for family & friends of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and helps connect individuals to our professional community!