The Rugby player Matt Gilbert has been discussing his deafness with news provider the Telegraph.
“I am who I am. I don’t need to put my hand up and say, ‘I’ve got a disability’. I can cope in this environment,” he has said.
He doesn’t want other players to give his condition a second thought, he suggested, but to see him as just another player.
“Honestly I’ve never found anyone treat me differently because of my deafness,” he also said. If this has ever happened, he has ignored it, he added.
Sporting hearing aids on the rugby field, Mr Gilbert is England’s only professional sportsman to be deaf, with 90 decibels hearing loss, the news provider reports.
A genetic fault, diagnosed in childhood, caused gradual deterioration in his hearing over time.
His deafness was diagnosed at five, before which he self-taught lipreading.
While on the field, the amount he is able to hear is somewhat limited.
He told the news provider that every so often he’ll miss something on the field and that a spectator might note him looking around more often compared to his fellow players to check what is happening around him.
Mr Gilbert plays for Bath Rugby, who are part of Aviva Premiership alongside teams like London Wasps and Sale Sharks.
He is set to be a replacement in an upcoming match that Bath are playing against Sale Sharks, according to the club’s website.
Recently, Lawson singer Andy Brown spoke to Cambridge News about his experience coping with being deaf in one ear after a tumour-removal operation.
“Because I had lost hearing in my right ear I suffered really bad dizziness and vertigo,” he told the news provider.
“You don’t realise it but your ears are a massive part of your balance, which enables you to walk, and when you lose one side your brain basically doesn’t have a clue what’s going on,” he said.
As a result, it’s necessary to learn to cope with the new situation he said, and that can take some time.