With about one third of people experiencing some degree of hearing loss, it’s no surprise that there are a number of famous people with hearing loss. Knowing who they are and seeing that they didn’t let their hearing loss keep them from accomplishing their dreams is a good way for anyone suffering from hearing loss to see that they don’t have to be held back by their hearing loss, either.
Here are 7 famous people with hearing loss:
1. Thomas Edison
Although it’s hard to know exactly what degree of hearing loss this famous American inventor had, we do know it was severe enough that he referred to himself as being deaf even though he did have some hearing. His hearing loss appeared to have begun early in life, most likely as a result of an illness though it also ran in the family. Even so, he went on to invent many things, including the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb.
2. William Shatner
Most known for his role as Captain Kirk in the long-running Star Trek television series, this actor doesn’t suffer from hearing loss, but he does have tinnitus. According to Shatner, his tinnitus was caused by an explosion that happened on set while filming an episode of Star Trek. However, he didn’t let that slow him down and continues acting to this day while supporting organizations that fund research for a cure for tinnitus.
3. Ludwig Van Beethoven
Easily one of the most well-known composers of all time, Beethoven started losing his hearing when he was just 26 years old. The reason for his hearing loss was unknown as it could have been anything from a lesion in his inner ear, lead poisoning, or an illness. By the time he was 44, he was almost completely deaf, but that didn’t stop him from composing some of the most beautiful and famous pieces of classical music in history.
4. Marlee Matlin
Despite the fact that she had severe hearing loss when she was just 18 months old, this actress and performer didn’t let her hearing impairment keep her from pursuing her dreams. Her hearing loss was likely a genetic problem with her cochlea that didn’t form properly, but she still went on to be the only deaf performer to have won an Academy Award and continues to act in movies and TV shows, primarily portraying a deaf woman.
5. Rob Lowe
This actor has been nominated for an Emmy and 6 Golden Globe awards despite being completely deaf in his right ear since before the age of one. It is not known what caused this hearing loss, but it’s believed to have been the result of undiagnosed mumps. Despite this disability, he has had success as both a movie and television actor and continues to act to this day, although he does report having a hard time hearing well in noisy settings.
6. Halle Berry
Holding the title of being the only African American woman to have won an Academy Award for Best Actress, many people know Halle Berry for her outstanding acting career and do not realize that she actually suffers from 80% hearing loss in her left ear. This happened when she was an adult as a result of an abusive relationship. Now, she continues to pursue her acting career while raising awareness about domestic abuse.
7. Eric Clapton
It’s not uncommon for musical artists to develop hearing loss and tinnitus, and Eric Clapton, famous guitarist and singer, is no exception. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time and has been inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame three times, a feat that nobody else has accomplished. Because his hearing loss was caused by damage from playing at loud concerts in his early career, he now only listens to soft classical music to preserve his remaining hearing.