Steven Hale Hearing and Phonak are proud to have supported Paralympian Jack Hodgson with the unrivalled combination of Phonak Audéo Paradise hearing aids and Roger On, enabling him to compete in sport at the very top level. Here is a glimpse into Jack’s journey to the 2020 Paralympics.
Jack Hodgson, a 24-year-old who is living and training with the Paralympic GB Team based in Walsall, headed out to Tokyo on 18th August 2021 to compete in his second Paralympic event. Jack will represent British Judo when the competition starts on 24th August 2021. *By the time of going to press we might know his result. * However, Jack was born with Usher Syndrome. This is a rare genetic disorder characterised by hearing loss and an eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa which causes degeneration of the retina until only the ability to see straight ahead remains (Tunnel vision). Never has Jack let his condition hold him back from his dream to fight for a medal at the Paralympics.
Let’s find out a little more about him:
Jack, what led you to Judo in the first place?
“When I was younger, I lived on a military base and there were only two clubs available to kids my age – ballet and judo! Initially my mum put me in the dance class, but I was way too clumsy so naturally found my way to the fighting sport of Judo, which suited me far better!”
How did you qualify for the Paralympics?
“I have spent the past five years competing in various events around the world – places as far afield as America, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Japan, Uzbekistan and many others! The rules are the same as in Olympic Judo, except for the fact that the two fighters start ‘gripped up’. Qualifying has been lengthy and gruelling, but worth every minute!”
What challenges have you faced within the sport with hearing difficulties?
“Well, not being able to hear your coach ‘in action’ was a massive issue at first, and then we started to use hearing aids. However, I struggled for many years with my aids breaking as soon as they came into contact with sweat, which was frustrating, and really hindered my improvement as a Judo fighter. Then along came Phonak, and their receiver in canal Audeo hearing aid. Wow! What a difference! Not only do they sit completely in the canal, so they are safe, clear and comfy, but they also have the NEW UV drier/cleaner portal which will dry and clean the aids usually within 3 hours! I never even knew about this technology, so it’s brilliant to have it at my fingertips! Also, Roger On is a microphone dedicated to conversations that occur over distance – so now my coach can shout at me from the side-lines!”
Audiologist Steven Hale who fitted Jack with his equipment says “These hearing aids are also Bluetooth compatible, so if Jack has any issues whilst he’s in Tokyo, I can help him! It’s a bit like standing in his corner with him!”
How have Phonak’s products helped over the last few months?
“I hear so much better with my new hearing aids compared to my older ones! I have been super impressed with the clarity. It is great that they are rechargeable and can be controlled by an app. This makes it easy to turn the volume up and down and change programmes. I also think Charge and Care is a fantastic piece of kit! In the past when I’ve had a hard, sweaty training session I have to take my aids out and it takes some time for the aids to dry out – if they ever do! But now using Charge & Care is quick, easy and successful. My Roger On is great as I can hear my coach – he just has to remember that I can now hear him and not say anything he doesn’t want me to hear! I’m also really looking forward to using Roger On during the flight to Tokyo. To listen to music or watch a film on my phone has always been difficult, so now my aids have Bluetooth and I can stream my multimedia direct to my ears, it will be much easier. I am also hoping I will get some sleep easier as I won’t be having to wear bulky headphones and still have some awareness around me.”
How would you sum up where you are now?
“I am honoured to represent Paralympics GB, in what has been a lifechanging time for me. The support and investment from Phonak and Steven Hale Hearing has been immense and meant that I really can ‘Go for Gold’ to the very best of my ability!”
For peace of mind, get your hearing checked now.