"We must think long-term; we cannot let him rely on one-sided hearing, nor can we expect everyone to accommodate him. I think we shouldn't overthink it. As long as it doesn't affect the brain tumor, we must let him undergo the surgery."
Looking at 8-year-old son, Chua Zi Jie, single mother Tey Ai Pey (42 years old) revealed that she has been agonizing and contemplating about this surgery for a long time. This is because Zi Jie has a tumor in his right brain, which poses a danger as the tumor may grow with age. Fortunately, the tumor is located at the back of the artificial cochlear, and after various examinations, the doctors believe that they can perform the cochlear implant surgery without affecting the tumor.
【Reliant on One-sided Hearing, Expression, and Comprehension Skills Lagging Behind Peers】
Zi Jie, from Batu Pahat, Johor, showed no response to sounds around the age of 1, prompting his family to suspect a hearing problem. After testing, it was confirmed that he suffered from bilateral severe sensorineural hearing loss, with only 10 to 15% hearing ability. Thus, he started wearing hearing aids from the age of 1 and received weekly speech therapy to learn pronunciation.
By the age of 2, he could only utter a few single words. By chance, his family learned about cochlear implants for improving hearing, and they took him for a medical examination. However, unexpectedly, they discovered a tumor in the right brain compressing the right auditory nerve, not only affecting his right ear's hearing but also questioning the suitability of the cochlear implant surgery. After further discussions with the doctors, the family decided to proceed with a cochlear implant in the left ear first.
Following the surgery, Zi Jie regularly visits the hospital and language center. He successfully attends kindergarten and is now a standard 2 student in a Chinese primary school. With his mother's support, he has started learning to play jazz drums. With his musical talent, he had the opportunity to join a concert earlier this year, performing jazz drums with 104 other drummers, creating a national record for the most people simultaneously playing jazz drums, listed in the Malaysia Book of Records.
Currently, his left ear's hearing is at 60% of that of a normal person, and with the hearing aid, his right ear's hearing ranges from 20% to 30%. However, as he grows older, his hearing may gradually decline, making it more challenging to rely on one-sided hearing, and some pronunciation may not be clear, affecting his ability to express himself as clearly as other peers.
"Because he can't hear, he seems trapped in his own world. He underwent the surgery at 3 years old, which means he is three years behind in his learning compared to other children."
【Independent Child, Good Academic Performance, but Unable to Rely on Others to Follow His Learning Pace】
Considering her son's long-term growth, Tey Ai Pey hopes to have a cochlear implant for his right ear. Zi Jie used to have a tendency to be withdrawn due to his hearing loss, but this gradually improved after the cochlear implant surgery. Now, he has become an independent child, completing schoolwork on his own, and performs well in school. However, there are still some deficiencies in his daily life and learning.
"It's not possible to expect everyone to accommodate him in the long run. He will enter society and face various circles in the future, so I hope to seize this growth stage and let him learn to live independently after the cochlear implant."
【Surgery to be Performed Without Affecting the Brain Tumor, but Single Mother Cannot Afford Full Cost】
The tumor in Zi Jie's right brain is a risky factor for the surgery, but after various tests, doctors have determined that the cochlear implant is suitable.
Tey Ai Pey works as an accountant in a furniture factory, earning a monthly salary of RM5,000, with an additional RM1,500 for support. Since her divorce two years ago, she has to juggle work and taking care of her family, including her 12-year-old daughter and elderly parents, and bear all the household expenses. She can only afford RM5,000 for her son's cochlear implant, leaving a shortfall of RM67,000, hoping for public donations.
After conducting a home visit and assessment, One Hope Charity has decided to extend assistance to them and help them raise the remaining funds. We hope that with the support of the public, there is a chance for Zi Jie to hear more beautiful sounds in the world.
The family has agreed to entrust the fundraising activities to the One Hope Charity & Welfare and will handle the collection of donations. If you have any inquiries, you can contact the foundation hotline at 04-539 9212, 016-4192 192, 019-2322 192, 018-911 4192.