Sunday, September 4, 2011

The gift of hearing

I was born with left side hearing loss. At my time, no tests at birth to confirm if the hearing loss is by birth or due to other reasons.

Some of my friends recalled our primary school teacher who just like to slap us as punishment and asked if I was deafen by the slaps. I guess not.

Some asked, what's the difference between having both hearing and one side of hearing? I couldn't tell the difference! But later in school we learnt that both ears are to collect information and determine where sound comes from. True enough, if you call me from the left, I'd still look at the right side because that's the working ear and sound I heard only from the left. Funny people will always say 'here! Here!' to indicate their locations and I'd still look around on my right. Those who know about my problem will say, 'on left left! Look a bit more to the left' or 'behind you!'

At dinners, I'd only sit to a person's left side so I could hear him or her on my right ear. So on my left will be guests or new friends who do not know about my hearing loss. People tend to talk and I can't hear and some thought I'm arrogant for not replying. Or I may participate in the conversation but I'll need to turn so much to the left that my neck sores after a while. Good for neck exercise though!

When driving, a honk will make me turn around, look at mirrors to see if I'm the one being honked at.

It wasn't until more people whispering to me on the left that I finally gave up and seek need of a hearing aid. As a professional emcee, very often people run to me to whisper things to announce but they find themselves repeating again when I turn my good ear to them.

A hearing aid these days is not just an amplifier to amplify sounds. Hearing aids have digital noise reduction, multiple channels input, speech recognition, multiple channels selections, up to 20 channels output speaker, multi colours, multi function, multi program, even comes with music, linking to bluetooth devices, remote controls and many more different features.

Thus its price is also in the high range depending on the models. Staring at RM1,000 which normally only amplify sounds including background noise and will be difficult to listen to people talking, up to RM20,000 with bluetooth, remote control and all accessories.
Having know that, and knowing I need a good aid, I playfully posted on Twitter 'seriously need a hearing aid, who want to sponsor me?'. To my surprise, Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi said he will. He also repeatedly asked for my name and account number.

We have not met and many of you know how difficult it was for me to receive things from others. Growing up with 'give first', 'giving is better than receiving', 'service before self', I find myself rather difficult in taking, which I knew I need to correct this. A friend said by taking when people give sincerely, I'm also giving, giving them the joy of giving I've always enjoyed.

I don't know someone by just @skkua as his twitter handle and profile says 'Kurnia Insurance founder and chairman'. When I asked and a friend said 'Tan Sri Kua?' Only did I know he is a Tan Sri. He said he's a close friend to Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn and in a few more days, Tan Sri Fong himself messaged me to say 'a friend want to give you hearing aid, can you accept?'

Cornered with guilt, hey when will you have two Tan Sris asking you to receive a sincere gift? We came out for lunch one day for a chat after I surveyed on a few models which may suit me. I proposed a mid range but Tan Sri wanted me to have a good one.

Now I'm walking tall as I can hear with both ears! Left ear, though is aided, but has more functions! Nothing beats natural hearing like my right ear but my hearing aid has got 5 channels to suit any environment, even comes with Zen music at a press of a button. It costs RM9,800 and I wouldn't have gotten my ear without Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi.

Thank you and when I see Kurnia sign everywhere, I always point to the logo and tell people around me that my ear is sponsored by the boss of this company.

And he owns Kurnia, he kurniakan telinga to me. I gave a gift of life to someone, the gift of hearing to me almost equates that.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

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