Ben Pate, a man who has single sided deafness, has said that his hearing loss has helped with his confidence.
Mr Pate was Speaking to the Deafness Research UK website and the test driver is soon set to go on a round-the-world sailing trip to raise money for the charity.
He said he felt growing up as someone who had hearing loss – a condition he was born with – had boosted his confidence because single sided deafness means that he is required to tell people he’s “only just met that they have to stand or sit and talk to me on the left.”
He said he learned quickly that being confident about changing people’s position in this way was a necessity. He also said that as a child he thinks he liked being different from other children.
“I don’t like the ’norm’, I’d rather do things my way or a different way and I think this all came from my deafness and my difference to others,” he said.
A drawback, he admitted, was the fact that deafness had “limited my career path”.
He said he felt a high level of disappointment when, as part of the Air Cadets, his deafness meant he couldn’t finish a solo flight scholarship.
He realised he would not have the chance of becoming a pilot in the RAF as a result of his condition.
Mr Pate has a target of £40,000 for his Deafness Research UK fundraising: he wants to raise one pound for the charity for each mile he covers on his global sailing challenge.
He said of his single sided deafness that in general the only “problem” it creates are where “new people” have to be taught that “they have to be on my left.”
“Once everyone is ’trained’ then it’s OK! You have to put a positive spin on everything. If not, you just make things worse,” he said.
The ultimate aim of Deafness Research UK is the discovery of cures for hearing impairment in every form it takes.
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