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Tune Into Hope: Virtual Victories on World Cochlear Implant Day

Meet Leslie Ryan
Meet Leslie Ryan

Date: 2024-02-25

Thunder Bay, ON - On World Cochlear Implant Day 2024, Leslie Ryan shares her transformative journey with cochlear implants.

Having grappled with hearing loss from an early age and facing ongoing auditory challenges, Leslie made the pivotal decision to have her first cochlear implant surgery in 2016. Cochlear implants improve hearing by circumventing damaged parts of the ear, delivering sound signals directly to the auditory nerve. Leslie said these implants changed the course of her life.

Following the completion of her second surgery in 2020, Leslie needed numerous follow-up appointments to fine-tune and "map" the devices. Mapping is the term for making adjustments to the implants so Leslie can change the clarity and volume of her hearing. The challenge was that these appointments were in Southern Ontario.

That's when she discovered St. Joseph's Care Group's (SJCG) Cochlear Implant Program.

Launched in 2022, the program is a virtual alternative to in-person mapping at either Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre or SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Instead of travelling to Toronto multiple times a year, clients can conveniently visit St. Joseph's Hospital's Outpatient Services in Thunder Bay to have their cochlear implants expertly mapped.

 SJCG Client Leslie Ryan
SJCG Client Leslie Ryan

For people in Northwestern Ontario coping with hearing loss, frequent travel food adjustment sessions can be a significant barrier. Leslie observed that some people may choose not to have cochlear implant surgery because of the need for travel. Leslie's a big fan of this local program and makes a point of recommending it to anyone living with a cochlear implant. "I can't tell you how happy I was," says Leslie. "To have hearing loss all my life and to have Carlee, my Speech-Language Pathologist, help me connect with Amy, my Audiologist at Sunnybrook, for virtual mapping sessions is a breakthrough in technology. It gave me so much comfort because I didn't have to be away from home to receive care."

Recognizing that hearing loss can affect anyone, Leslie emphasizes the importance of getting tested when experiencing hearing challenges. Cochlear implants have been a transformative force in her life, and Leslie shares her story in the hope of inspiring others living with hearing loss.

In a world full of sounds and voices, the ability to hear music, especially my old favourites, is so special to me," says Leslie. "Listening to waterfalls, the rustling of leaves in the fall, and the voices of children and grandchildren - there's so much to take in and enjoy."

Please click here to learn more about the Cochlear Implant Program.


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