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Music to His Ears

Jerry Krueger isn’t missing a beat — thanks to dual cochlear implants he received at Sunnybrook.

Implanted into the skull and a portion of the inner ear, the device stimulates the auditory nerve using electrical signals. With training, a person can interpret these signals as sound and speech — or music, the 36-piece orchestra in “Hey Jude” being Jerry’s new favourite.

“I could hear the stereo for the first time after receiving my second implant in 2013,” says the now 66-year-old Toronto real estate manager. “I fell in love with The Beatles.”

Jerry has had hearing difficulties since childhood. While it brought challenges over the years, he thrived in his work and family life, as a devoted husband to Marzena and loving father to daughters Catherine and Victoria.

Jerry with his wife Marzena and daughters Catherine and Victoria.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the avid scuba diver experienced severe ear pain while diving in the Cayman Islands. Visits to two different physicians couldn’t resolve it. Eventually, Dr. Julian Nedzelski, a head and neck surgeon in Sunnybrook’s Department of Otolaryngology, relieved a blockage and diagnosed an inner-ear infection. “Dr. Ned,” as Jerry fondly calls him, told Jerry he was a candidate for a cochlear implant.

A few months later Jerry received his first implant, and within a year of therapy, he says sounds appeared less robotic and more natural. His second implant was enabled through a lottery system at the time.

Jerry continues to express gratitude to Dr. Ned, who is now retired, and his current physician Dr. Joseph Chen.

“Sunnybrook always made me feel like all my concerns were being heard,” says Jerry.

So much so that Jerry is remembering Sunnybrook with a gift in his Will, designated to advance cochlear implant research and ensure more patients can access the procedure. “My gift won’t affect me directly,” he says, “but it’s comforting to know I’m investing in the future.”

As a legacy giving donor, Jerry joins the Kilgour Legacy Society, which welcomes all who will impact future generations through a gift to Sunnybrook in their estate plans.

While Jerry doesn’t dive to the same depths these days, he still enjoys reef and wreck diving — and singing along to “Yellow Submarine.”

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