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​Hearing Aid Heroes: Mat Gilbert

Mat Gilbert was five years old the first time he registered a potential issue during a routine hearing screening. Sent for further tests, the results were shocking: he had bi-lateral sensorineural hearing loss, a significant and deteriorating condition that would get progressively worse as the years went by.

By the time he had been diagnosed, he was able to hear very low frequencies. For instance, if a plane flew low overhead he could register the deep rumble of the engines. But anything above 100 dB was silent to him. During his hearing test, he never registered anything at all.

He has been wearing hearing aids since then, adapting quickly to his new life and the changes it brought him. Through his education he never felt like he was treated differently because of his disability. He struggled in school but to this day is adamant that his hearing loss had nothing to do with it. He simply didn’t apply himself to academics the way he did to other things.

Namely, to sports. A rugby fan from a young age, he joined teams through his childhood and teen years. All of his focus and energy went into his time in the field, where he became an accomplished athlete.

So great was his dedication to rugby that when he went to college, he chose to go for a degree in coaching. Little did he know that it would not be the sidelines where he would reside.

Eventually he would catch the eye of professional recruits. Now he is a proud member of the Worcester Warriors, one of the teams within the Aviva Premiership.

Can’t Hold Me Back

During the earlier years of his career, Gilbert learned how to adapt on the field in order to play as effectively as the other members of his team. That included positioning himself to be able to read lips, so he never missed the call.

After spending a life using hearing aids, he was fitted for a new device in 2012. Now he wears a Phonak, along with silicone molds that allow it to fit comfortably. Referees during games have started using compatible microphone devices that eliminate static and surrounding sound, so he gets calls right to his ear.

Mat Gilbert is the only hard of hearing professional athlete in the UK. His story and success is an inspiration.

If you are struggling with hearing loss, the Doctors of Audiology at Hearing & Balance Doctors can help. Find out more and regain your life today.

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