Joy of restored binaural hearing

Yi Zhen (right) with her mother Pan Lim (left) and audiologist Atiqah (standing) after the cochlear implant device is switched on. - Photo: LIM YI ZHEN

21-year-old’s life-changing cochlear surgery made possible by foundation

Lim Yi Zhen can look forward to a brighter future after a successful cochlear implantation in her left ear, thanks to generous Malaysians who donated via Star Foundation’s Medical Fund Programme.

Yi Zhen, 21, already had an implant in her right ear and was previously using a hearing aid in her left ear.

However, the surgery became necessary when she found the hearing in her left ear had significantly deteriorated, resulting in a diagnosis of moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

The cochlear implant last August has helped to improve her ability to process sounds in both ears, bringing renewed hope.

Yi Zhen says she now has a newfound sense of self-assurance and positivity.

“I have become more outgoing, positive and confident. My friends have noticed the difference,” said Yi Zhen, a psychology student at a higher education institution in Kuala Lumpur.

“The implant has allowed me to participate more effectively in group discussions, respond more quickly and understand conversations more easily.

“This enables me to work well with classmates.

“I can now also continue my volunteer work with non-governmental organisations to serve the community,” she added.

Her family had sought financial assistance from Star Foundation as it could not afford the implant surgery costing about RM68,000.

She expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the assistance she received.

“I will always remember the kindness of Star Foundation and the public.

“Without their support, I would not have the gift of clearer hearing. Thank you.”

Following her surgery at Kuching’s Borneo Medical Centre, Yi Zhen is required to undergo monthly comprehensive audio and speech rehabilitation sessions to maximise the benefits of the implant.

“I am also advised to be careful and avoid head injuries. The device is my lifeline to sound.”

Borneo Medical Centre ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon Prof Dr Tang Ing Ping, who attended to Yi Zhen, is confident that she would be able to regain a portion of her hearing post surgery.

“The implant surgery went well and we managed to finish in two hours.

“With the restoration of binaural hearing, she will be able to gradually return to a more typical way of verbal communication, much like individuals without hearing impairments,” said Prof Tang.

He emphasised that Yi Zhen’s cochlear implant surgery marked the dawn of her journey towards complete verbal fluency.

“Cochlear implantation is a stepping stone to full spoken communication.”

Prof Tang thanked Star Foundation and its generous donors for helping to change lives for the better.

Established in 2004, Star Foundation is the charitable arm of Star Media Group which aimed at delivering meaningful initiatives with lasting outcomes to a diverse group of beneficiaries.

The Medical Fund Programme was initiated in 2015 to sponsor one-off medical treatment and care for under- privileged individuals with chronic illnesses. For more details, visit

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