Hearing loss changemaker Le Peng Tee

Le Peng Tee Digital Marketing Executive Malaysia

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“I received a cochlear implant to treat my hearing loss when I was a kid. I’m now in my mid-20s. The biggest obstacle on this journey was self-acceptance. The people around me were understanding and supportive, but I felt like a minority and unconnected to others like myself.

As a teenager, I often wondered what my acquaintances felt or thought when they saw the device behind my ear or the surgical scar at the incision point. I wondered if they were taken aback, and I doubted whether they truly saw me as an equal. These thoughts weighed heavily on my mind throughout my teenage years.

Looking back, I realize that when we are not part of the norm, not only do we feel awkward, but the people around us may not know how to react around us, or how to care for us. These are subtle social needs that go beyond the more obvious hearing-related ones.

I gradually realized that I needed to connect with others who could relate to me. Because there is power in knowing that there are people in the same shoes as me. So, I started reaching out to fellow young adult cochlear implant users, interviewing them, and sharing their stories on my blog.

My journey has taught me that self-acceptance has a lot to do with broadening my horizons. I used to think that no one could ever relate to my unique fears and concerns, and I often found myself at mental dead ends. But as I examine my hidden assumptions, one by one, and connect with people in a similar situation to mine, I’ve become better informed and better able to navigate the way forward.”

Peng is a Changemaker who supports the call in the World Report on Hearing for hearing care for all, now. Help change the world for those with hearing loss by sharing his story.