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25 February 2020, 16:22
Ben Mitchell survived the dramatic boat crash of last week, but the Eastenders character is now scarred for life and may be deaf.
The Eastenders 35th anniversary boat crash last week was one of the soap's most dramatic storylines in years, and the characters are still reeling from the events.
Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) managed to survive the accident, but he appears to have been left with hearing damage.
He fell overboard after getting involved in a brawl with Keanu Taylor, suffering a head injury in the process.
It has become apparent that he is struggling to hear people around him, and Eastenders viewers think he may have lost his hearing permanently.
Eastenders bosses have now confirmed that Ben - who previously used a hearing aid - has now permanently lost his hearing.
The sound will be distorted in his scenes so as to depict his struggle to hear those around him.
Eastenders will also be introducing their first ever deaf character Frankie, played by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.
Show bosses have worked with the National Deaf Children’s Society to produce the storyline.
Rosie Eggleston from the National Deaf Children’s Society said the storyline is "an important step towards making deaf people#s lives more visible and better understood," adding: "It’s been brilliant to put the team at EastEnders in touch with deaf young people because they’ve been able to hear first-hand what it’s like to grow up deaf in the UK today. For the UK’s 50,000 deaf children and young people, representation like this is just so important."