Community Papers

Richmond Hospital offers expertise in treating hearing problems

Dr. Lillian Wong is a talented Ear, Nose Throat surgeon at Richmond Hospital, specializing in otology, or the ears.  - Rich Lam
Dr. Lillian Wong is a talented Ear, Nose Throat surgeon at Richmond Hospital, specializing in otology, or the ears.
— image credit: Rich Lam

Your grandchild’s laughter. Your favourite song. A whisper from loved ones telling you how much they care about you.

What do these things have in common? They all require hearing, one of the crucial five senses we have.

While many people may take this for granted, many others are acutely aware of its loss when they experience hearing problems or other medical issues associated with the ear.

Fortunately at Richmond Hospital, we have an outstanding Ear Nose Throat (ENT) team who deal with a wide range of problems right here in our community. For ear-related problems, Dr. Lillian Wong is a talented specialist and surgeon. Dr. Wong has been working at Richmond Hospital for nearly 10 years. Her expertise is sought out by patients not only from Richmond but also by patients in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and elsewhere in the province.

She treats patients of all ages, and approximately one third of her patients are older adults, including a patient named André Bisson who offers us his personal testimonial which follows this introduction from Dr. Wong in her own words:

“ENT refers to the specialty of Ear, Nose and Throat, but I like to describe this specialty as dealing with everything in the head and neck area of the body except the brain, eyes and teeth. It’s a very broad specialty. My own area of interest and focus of care is otology, or the ears.

“Typically, we see a wide variety of medical issues that patients encounter at many stages of their lives. Ear infections. Hearing loss. Tinnitus, a ringing in one’s ears. Dizziness and balance problems, which are often related to the inner ear.

“More than one million Canadians are reported to have a hearing-related disability and hearing loss is the most widespread disability here. Hearing loss can be debilitating physically and emotionally. If left unmanaged, those with hearing loss may become withdrawn and socially isolated, leading to the breakdown of support networks and the risk of depression.

“Sometimes, surgery is necessary to regain the ability to hear.”

André Bisson, a grateful patient of Dr Wong’s, kindly offers his own experience here:

“My wife and I live in Merritt, B.C., a three-hour drive from Richmond. But it was the health care services offered in the Richmond community that gave me the gift of hearing again.

“For 35 years, I could not hear out of my left ear. In 1978, a tumour in my left ear was removed and, along with it, my ear drum was well.  An audiologist in Kamloops tried to fit me with a regular hearing aid, but without an ear drum, it was completely ineffective. With only one ear functioning, I could hear sounds but I could not tell where the sounds were coming from. More than a third of my life was spent this way.

“A few years ago, I found out about a technology called a bone anchor hearing aid that could help people like me.

“Shortly after my appointment with Dr. Wong, she conducted the surgery to install a bone anchor behind my ear, which holds the sound processor in place. Thanks to her amazing work and a new hearing device, I could finally hear out of my left ear for the first time in 35 years. It’s unbelievable. My wife said it was the best thing that has happened in our marriage so far.

“People in Richmond are so fortunate. Because of the expert care in your community, I can experience the joy of hearing again. We hope you will make a donation to help support the work of Dr. Wong so people in Richmond can receive the best care possible.”

Natalie D. Meixner is president and CEO of Richmond Hospital Foundation. To donate or for more information, see www.richmondhospitalfoundation.com for info.

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