I began my journey to hearing again starting in the 1980's with hearing aids in both ears. My ENT was Dr. Ireland at the HSC and little was known about why I was losing hearing and what to do about it. I was fortunate that my audiogram was sent to Sunnybrook Hospital in 1994 when all seemed hopeless for my now profound hearing loss. In January 1995 I was tested by Dr.Nedzelski and David Shipp, and found to be an ideal candidate for a cochlear implant, the very new technology by Advanced Bionics. Surgery was performed in Toronto in May and I came home to Manitoba until July. I returned to Sunnybrook to be "turned on" or have the device activated. I began to hear again! Sounds, voices, people, nature, birds, and the phone. My world was alive again! I returned to Toronto many times until 1999 to get new mapping, or testing and changes in the programs. How exciting and how my life changed!
During this time I attended a meeting as the Chapter President of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association when Dr. Schramm came from Ottawa. He met others who could also benefit from a cochlear implant. I met Ken Campbell from the Central Speech and Hearing Clinic. There were only a few adults in Manitoba who needed to travel out of province for help. Then we talked more, and wrote more letters, and the next meeting was at the Legislature with members of the Clinic board, including the Campbells. It was approved! And in 2000, I was the first adult to receive testing and my yearly checkup at the CSH clinic located in the basement of the Victoria Hospital. No more expenses to fly to Ontario as the clinic could now also help adults with CIs.
Time went on and letters were written, presentations were given, and we shared the good news, did "show and tell" events, all to help spread the word. More and more adults went out of province for surgery to as far away as St. John's, Newfoundland. The wait list was long and some families found it too stressful to travel out of province for surgery. Members of the MB Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association were fortunate to meet with then Minister of Health, Theresa Oswald . She heard us! And in October 2011 cochlear implant surgery began to happen in MB at the Health Science Centre under the leadership of Dr. Hochman and Dr. Leitao. The Central Speech and Hearing Clinic could do the assessments and determine the candidacy right here in Winnipeg. We could get "turned on" in Manitoba and receive care for mapping and testing or problem solving right here at our clinic at home. What a wonderful story of success! I am forever grateful!