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An amazing journey : 88-year-old s hearing improves after cochlear implant

An amazing journey : 88-year-old s hearing improves after cochlear implant
Health
You ve likely seen the stories of infants and small children hearing for the first time with the help of cochlear implants, but one Toronto hospital is pioneering the use of the implants for people on the other end of the age spectrum: seniors.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has the largest adult cochlear implant program in Canada, working with people in their 80s and beyond to help regain their hearing.

One such cochlear recipient is 88-year-old Albert Stirling. He was gradually losing his hearing in one ear, and with it, his ability to enjoy some of the simple things, like talking on the phone. He didnt think there was much that could be done about it.

"We would go out for dinner with friends and I couldn t hear the conversation. It was hard," Stirling said.

Then he met an older acquaintance whose hearing was helped by two cochlear implants, which he said was an eye opener.

Otolaryngologist Dr. Vincent Lin said that these implants can improve quality of life for patients and help keep them safe, making sure they can hear things like traffic noise.

Unlike a hearing aid, these implanted devices deliver impulses directly to the auditory nerve, which carries signals to the brain.

"Age is a number, as long as patients are in good health, there s no reason why they can t have this surgery done," said Dr. Lin.

Stirling has now had his cochlear device for a few months and will continue to fine tune it with regular follow ups, for now hes been able to start enjoying some of those simple things again, like listening to music.

"It s been an amazing journey and it does give me the sense that I m hearing somewhat in this ear," he said.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has the largest adult cochlear implant program in Canada. Cochlear recipient Albert Stirling has had his cochlear device for a few months.

88-year-old Albert Stirling was gradually losing his hearing but experienced an improvement after receiving a cochlear implant. (CTV Toronto)
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