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10 Celebrities and Famous People with Hearing and Ear Issues

Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age and according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The NIDCD reports that approximately 15% of American adults (or 37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. Many celebrities and famous individuals from across the country have used their status as a platform to share their hearing issues and rally for others to take ear health seriously. The following are 10 individuals that you may not have known that struggle with hearing impairments.

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: One of the most famous composers of all time also happened to be deaf. Beethoven taught himself to understand the sounds of the piano by clenching a stick in his teeth and holding it against the keyboard. Although the cause of Beethoven’s hearing loss is unknown, it is thought to have been the result of an illness, lead poisoning, or a lesion of the inner ear.
  • Halle Berry: An abusive relationship occurring over 20 years ago left actress Halle Berry with an 80% hearing loss in her left ear. Her then boyfriend repeatedly struck her ear, causing her to have life-long hearing loss.
  • Eric Clapton: Tinnitus is the cause of Eric Clapton’s hearing loss. This guitar legend suffers from ringing in his ear, possibly caused by noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Bill Clinton: Former President Bill Clinton was diagnosed with high-frequency hearing deficiency. This is the most common form of hearing loss, which makes it nearly impossible for the individual to distinguish sounds in noisy rooms and crowded events, especially those with a lot of background noise. Clinton now uses two in-ear canal hearing aids to help with his hearing trouble.
  • Stephen Colbert: Stephen Colbert had a tumor in his right ear as a child. To safely remove the tumor, Colbert’s doctors also had to remove his eardrum. This has left him deaf in his right ear.
  • Derrick Coleman: Derrick Coleman is the first deaf offensive player in the National Football League. He has played football in high school, in college for UCLA, and then for the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman’s hearing loss was diagnosed at only three years old and he wears hearing aids in both ears. He learned to read lips in order to keep up with plays on the field.
  • Lou Ferrigno: The Incredible Hulk lost 75% of his hearing at age three due to an ear infection. Lou Ferrigno has worn hearing aids since the age of four.
  • Huey Lewis: Huey Lewis and the News recently canceled all of their remaining 2018 tour dates due to Lewis’s recent hearing loss. The cause? Doctors say it may be attributable to Meniere’s Disease. What is Meniere’s Disease? It’s an inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo, tinnitus, and other hearing problems.
  • William Shatner: Best known for his role in Star Trek, William Shatner suffers from tinnitus. He’s an advocate for the American Tinnitus Association and has been quite outspoken for the negative effects he’s endured from his hearing disorder.
  • Rob Lowe: Rob Lowe was just a baby when he lost his hearing. An undiagnosed case of the mumps left him completely deaf in his right ear.

If you suffer from hearing loss or have questions about your hearing health visit the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for more information.

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