Straight ally Ben Cohen confessed that his hearing loss has improved with the help of Sir Elton John.
The anti-bullying crusader, who was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in his early 20s, never sought treatment because of his vigorous rugby activities.
‘I’m into the profound hearing loss category. I’m going deaf,’ said Cohen.
‘Certain sounds – such as the letters T and K – I can’t really hear at all’.
The rugby champion who retired from the sport to launch The Stand Up Foundation, a charity to raise awareness of homophobic bullying, says everything changed when the British pop icon called unexpectedly.
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 to [hearing aid manufacturer] Starkey and fit you out with new state-of-the-art hearing aids’.
Sir Elton John is an ambassador for the Starkey Hearing Foundation, an organization that helps children suffering from hearing loss in developing countries.
‘He’s a very kind man,’ said Cohen about Sir Elton John. ‘He does a lot of stuff that people don’t realise he does and will never know because he doesn’t want people to know’.
‘He’s a big supporter of my foundation. My wife and I went round there for dinner. He helps whenever he can’.
Cohen says when he went to Starkey, ‘It was an amazing day’.
When asked if the hearing aids are of use, Cohen said: ‘I use them a lot. Not necessarily every day because sometimes I get headaches, and when I’m around the kids if they’re being noisy that can be hard on the ears!
‘But they’ve changed my life’.
He adds: ‘At the moment the hearing seems to have reached a plateau but we’ll have to wait and see. There’s no point worrying about it because it’s out of my control’.
‘I just hope it doesn’t get worse. I want to be able to hear people’.