That was when his parents Annie Khoo and Ong Cheng Hock consulted an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who confirmed that Calvin had profound hearing loss in both ears since birth.
He then underwent cochlear implants on his left ear in May 2005 when he was only two years and 10 months old. Two years later, he also did the same procedure on his right ear.
The LohGuanLye Specialists Centre in Penang was the first hospital in the northern region to establish a Cochlear Implant Programme then, and Calvin was its first patient.
Today, Calvin, 13, is studying in Form One at Penang Free School, after obtaining 3As and 2Bs in his UPSR.
LohGuanLye Specialists Centre chief executive officer Dr Mary Quah said the Cochlear Implant Programme started in 2005 when a group of passionate medical and allied health professionals decided to bring in the programme to help patients with severe profound hearing loss.
The centre’s ENT head and neck surgeon Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan said to date the centre had implanted 84 ears.
“Cochlear implant is an electronic device that restores partial hearing to the deaf. It is surgically implanted into the inner ear and activated by a device worn outside the ear,” he said during a celebration hosted by the centre to mark the programme’s 10th anniversary recently.
At the event, mock cheques of RM4,000 each were presented to Star Media Group Berhad, Yayasan Suara, Malaysian Resource Centre for Hearing and Speech-Language and Yayasan Sin Chew for hearing rehabilitation and awareness programmes.
The contribution came from the fourth ‘Ride For Hearing’ event held in Bali, Indonesia, on May 16.
MED-EL, a global manufacturer of cochlear implants, together with LohGuanLye Specialists Centre co-organised the ‘Ride for Hearing’, where 63 cyclists went on a 150km journey through the Indonesian resort island to raise funds and create awareness on hearing care.
Also present were state Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin and The Star’s circulation manager Oun Sui Leng.