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May 29, 2000|Mathis Winkler, (949) 764-4311

Rudy Schindler, an 84-year-old retiree, found his weekly bridge parties at the Woodbridge Village Assn. fun, but he wanted more.

"Having two hearing aids put me on the spot," Schindler said.

He broached the idea of an awareness group on deafness with his bridge partners, and they jumped on the idea.

Schindler contacted the Deafness Research Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in New York that works to protect hearing.

Though the foundation has largely funded research for the better part of its 42-year history, officials liked the idea of establishing a connection with a local group.

Last week, Schindler opened the first meeting of Irvine's Hear Ye, a prototype for a grass-roots organization that foundation officials hope to take nationwide.

Hear Ye will give residents a chance to talk about hearing issues and will support foundation efforts, such as screening newborn babies for hearing impairments.

The group's next meeting will be at 10 a.m. June 28 at the Woodbridge Village Assn., 31 Creek Road, Irvine.

Information: (949) 551-1611.

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