Member Article

Powering a Paralympian - how local businesses fought for Judo star Jack Hodgson

Sutton Coldfield’s independent audiologist, Steven Hale Hearing, and Phonak are proud to have supported Paralympian Jack Hodgson during his Tokyo fight. Equipping him with the unrivalled combination of Phonak Audéo Paradise hearing aids and Roger On ahead of his campaign, the duo’s commitment enabled him to compete in sport at the highest level. 

Jack Hodgson, a 24-year-old who is living and training with the Paralympic GB Team based in Walsall, headed out to Tokyo and competed in his second Paralympic event on Sunday 29 August. Getting through to the round of 16, Jack – who is ranked number six in the world in the men’s +100kg category – put up a fight against Azerbaijan’s Ilham Zakiyev.

Paralympian Jack was born with Usher Syndrome, 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.

Speaking about the road to Tokyo, Jack said:

 “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 could ‘Go for Gold’ to the very best of my ability!

 “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!”

The journey to compete in the Paralympics wasn’t without its difficulties along the way. From multiple injuries through to technical setbacks due to unreliable equipment, the road to Tokyo hasn’t been straightforward. Jack commented:

“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 heads up Steven Hale Hearing in Sutton Coldfield, fitted Jack with his specialist state-of-the-art equipment. He added:

“Jack’s hearing aids are also Bluetooth compatible, so even if he faced any issues whilst in Tokyo, I could help him! It’s a bit like standing in his corner with him! The feedback from Jack has been fantastic, and it has been our pleasure to see the difference it has made to his game and his life. Jack told us he’s been super impressed with the clarity, as well as the fact that they are rechargeable and can be controlled by an app.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy West .

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read