Former England rugby star Ben Cohen has revealed that Sir Elton John encouraged him to get a hearing aid, and therefore had “changed his life”.
The 34-year-old rugby player had suffered from tinnitus when he was in his mid-20s, and then was told by doctors that a third of his hearing had been lost. Cohen became adamant in not wearing a hearing aid because he believed that they were “ineffective”.
However, after the sports star founded the Stand Up Foundation, Sir Elton John took notice of the stair’s ailments. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Cohen said: “He [Elton John] called me, out of the blue, and introduced himself. He said, ‘I hear you’re deaf. I love the work you’re doing and I’d love to help you. When you’re next in America, I’m going to send you over and fit you out with new state-of-the-art hearing aids.’ It was an amazing day."
Ben Cohen visited the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a charity which alleviates hearing loss in children who live in Third World countries, and found out that his hearing had actually detoriorated by a mammoth 50 per cent. Sir Elton John is an ambassador for the charity.
The sportsman now reveals that he regularly uses hearing aids as they help him not only socially but also professionally on a daily basis. He added that doctors are yet to see if his hearing will get even worse over time.
Cohen added: “I’m into the profound hearing loss category. I’m going deaf. Certain sounds – such as the letters ‘T’ and ‘K’ – I can’t really hear at all. But my new hearing aids are directional, so they pick up the sound in front of me.”
Cohen’s Stand Up Foundation aims to remove both homophobia and transphobia in the world of professional sport.