The only deaf professional athlete in the UK, rugby player Mat Gilbert, has recalled how stern words from World Cup referee Nigel Owens snapped him out of feeling as though he deserved special treatment.
Gilbert, who plays for Worcester Warriors, wears a hearing aid beneath his headgear and is also the beneficiary of a new pen-shaped microphone worn by referees, which sends sound directly to his appliance.
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"It's like having a mobile phone straight up to your ears," Gilbert says of the Phonak Roger Pen accessory.
"Even if they are 20 meters away, they would appear to be one meter away."
However, Gilbert says in an interview with CNN, he learnt not to expect any favours on the rugby pitch after a run-in with Owens.
"When I was young, I used to say to the referee: 'Oh by the way ref, I'm hard of hearing - I might not be able to hear you on the pitch when you're calling out to me when I'm infringing,'" he recalls.
"But I haven't done it since I played professional because Nigel Owens, a very famous referee, told me off one day. He said: 'Go away, you are a professional, you know the rules.'"
As well as knowing the rules, Gilbert says it is his responsibility to ensure he understands the team's plans.
"It's just my responsibility to make sure that I get the call," he says of his instructions coming teammates and referees.
"So I will position myself where I can lip-read the guy making the call."
The back rower played for Bath in England's top division and now helps mentor players at Worcester.