Former England rugby player Ben Cohen has said that Elton changed his life by convincing him to get a hearing aid, adding that the musician does more charity work than people realise.
The 34-year-old human rights campaigner, reported he had been told by doctors that he had lost a third of his hearing, and had tinnitus in his mid 20s, but he refused to wear a hearing aid because he thought they were ”cumbersome and ineffective.”
Cohen said that, after he set up the Stand Up Foundation, which seeks to eliminate homophobia and transphobia from professional sport, he heard from the Rocket Man.
”He called me, out of the blue, and introduced himself,” Cohen told the Daily Mail.
”He said, ‘I hear youre deaf. I love the work youre doing and Id love to help you. When youre next in America, Im going to send you over to [hearing aid manufacturer] Starkey and fit you out with new state-of-the-art hearing aids. While youre there you might as well see the head guy, the owner.’ It was an amazing day.”
Cohen then found he had lost 50% of his hearing, and that the problem was getting worse over time.
”Im into the profound hearing loss category. Im going deaf,” says Ben. ”Certain sounds such as the letters T and K I cant really hear at all. But my new hearing aids are directional, so they pick up the sound in front of me, like the person Im talking to, more than background noise.”
Elton is an ambassador for the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a charity which helps children in Third World countries suffering from hearing loss.
The rugby star now says he uses the hearing aids often, and that they have helped with his professional, social and home life.
On Elton, and whether he still sees him now, Cohen said: ”Yeah, I do, and hes a big supporter of my foundation. My wife and I went round there for dinner. He helps whenever he can.
”Hes a very kind man and he does a lot of stuff that people dont realise he does and will never know because he doesnt want people to know.”
Ben also said that doctors didnt know how much worse his hearing might get.
”At the moment the hearing seems to have reached a plateau but well have to wait and see. Theres no point worrying about it because its out of my control.”