Hearing loss does not discriminate. Young, old, rich, poor, ordinary folks and, yes, even the famous experience hearing loss. The reasons for hearing loss are as varied as the folks who experience it including congenital disorders, repeated exposure to loud noise, age and severe ear infections.
Some stars have taken a public stand on their hearing loss and their use of hearing aids, even advocating for hearing health, disease research or other causes related to hearing loss. Other celebrities prefer to maintain a low profile and the public is unaware that these public figures have any hearing challenges.
Here is a list of some celebrities with hearing loss who have chosen to talk publically about it:
Whoopi Goldberg — The Academy Award winner and cohost of The View wears hearing aids. Goldberg attributes her hearing loss to years of listening to loud music and warns others to protect their hearing while they have it.
Derrick Coleman — Coleman is the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. He wears hearing aids in both ears and learned to read lips on the field as a child. His hearing loss was diagnosed at the age of 3 after his parents noticed his speech was delayed. He played football at UCLA and went on to play in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawk, and, most recently, the Atlanta Falcons.
Lou Ferrigno — Best known as TV’s Incredible Hulk, actor and former bodybuilder Ferrigno lost 75 percent of his hearing when he was 3 due to an ear infection. He has worn hearing aids since childhood.
Bill Clinton — Clinton ignored his hearing difficulties for years until doctors diagnosed him with high-frequency hearing deficiency, making it hard to distinguish sounds in noisy, crowded situations. His hearing loss is linked to aging and exposure to loud noise. Clinton now wears two in-canal hearing aids.
Halle Berry – The Academy Award winning actress lost 80 percent of the hearing in her left ear when an ex-boyfriend struck her in a rage of domestic violence. She uses her experience to create awareness about domestic violence.
Leslie Nielsen — While he was alive, Nielsen worked to educate people on hearing loss, focusing on its lifestyle impacts, as well as communication complications. He believed in improving life with hearing aid technology, which he utilized to help him continue with his acting career.
Like these celebrities, you have a choice in how you manage your hearing loss. Whether you go public or keep it private (today’s small, high–tech hearing devices make that possible), just make sure you address your hearing loss. There’s too much to hear to let it go untreated. For a professional and thorough hearing evaluation, see Dr. Heather Dean at Sierra Nevada Hearing Aid Center. Call 775.882.3277 for an appointment.