'A chance to rejoin the world': Manitoba marks 250 cochlear implant surgeries

The Surgical Hearing Implant Program at the Health Sciences Centre marked the completion of 250 cochlear implant surgeries in Manitoba this summer.

Recipients say surgery was life-changing

The Surgical Hearing Implant Program co-hosted a family barbecue to celebrate 250th cochlear implant surgeries being performed in Manitoba. (Travis Golby/CBC)

People affected by hearing impairment celebrated a milestone Sunday.

The Surgical Hearing Implant Program at the Health Sciences Centre marked the completion of 250 cochlear implant surgeries in Manitoba this summer. 

The implant allows those with hearing impairments who qualify to significantly regain their hearing.

The milestone was celebrated at an event Sunday, where dozens of recipients of cochlear implant and their families came together in celebration.

One of those recipients was Brad Mehling.

Cochlear implant recipient Brad Mehling says the surgery has changed his life in remarkable ways. (Travis Golby/CBC)

He received his first implant in 2011, but says to this day, he's still hearing new sounds.

"I was middle-aged when I got my first implant, but even today, I'm hearing some wonderful sounds," he said.

"If you could imagine hearing my daughter sing for the first time, hearing my son say he scored a goal in hockey ... that was absolutely amazing."

Sally Longstaff began losing her hearing when she was in her 20s, which she says was a very isolating experience. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Sally Longstaff started to lose her hearing when she was in her 20s, which she described as an exhausting, isolating experience.

Getting a cochlear implant four years ago was "a chance to rejoin the world."

Jordan Hochman, director of the Surgical Hearing Implant Program, has performed about 300 cochlear implant surgeries.

Surgeon Jordan Hochman said he enjoyed getting to reconnect with former patients at Sunday's celebration. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Many of the attendees of Sunday's event were Hochman's former patients.

"The opportunity to see people I haven't seen in a number of years and to see how they're functioning, how they're engaging with their community, it's really a lot of fun," he said.

"It's very humbling to be involved with people at such an intimate level."