Docs on Ice

Head and neck surgeon Dr. Vincent Lin has a number of passions, including giving his patients the ability to hear, often for the first time, and playing hockey with his colleagues.

For many years, Dr. Lin was not only a player but a volunteer with the annual Docs on Ice charity hockey tournament. Thanks to his leadership and enthusiasm, Toronto was chosen to host the event in 2018.

Established in 1983, the Docs on Ice tournament moves to a different city in Ontario each year, and funds raised are directed to a designated charity. Since inception, the event has raised over $1 million for charitable causes.

At the Toronto edition, the collective efforts of over one thousand physicians and medical students netted an impressive $311,000 for Sunnybrook's cochlear implant program.

Dr. Lin is a member of the team of surgeons who performs cochlear implants at Sunnybrook — the largest such program in Canada. To date, the team has restored hearing to over 1,500 profoundly deaf Ontarians, performing some 200 procedures a year.

Dr. Lin (front row, second from left) and his teammates.

As Dr. Lin remarks, "Hearing impairment has a huge impact on my patients' lives. When we activate the cochlear device for the first time, patients often weep. It's a profoundly moving moment."

Now, Sunnybrook scientists are working to decipher how the brain translates sound into meaning, to improve outcomes for the handful of patients who struggle to adapt to the technology.

With the 2018 Docs on Ice, Dr. Lin was able to indulge his twin passions of cochlear implant surgery and playing hockey, all so Sunnybrook can provide more patients with the gift of hearing.

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