Famous People With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss does not need to hold you back from your dreams, goals, and accomplishments in life. There have been many famous people that have struggled with hearing loss, and still went on to make history. The key lies in what they did once their hearing loss was diagnosed, and taking action can be the difference between living a full life with hearing loss, or letting it hold you back.
In his mid-20s, Ludwig van Beethoven was experiencing severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and not many years later he lost his hearing completely. Speculation exists as to how he lost his hearing, ranging from illness to lead poisoning. During the premier of his Ninth Symphony he had to be turned around to realize that the audience was responding with tumultuous applause. Before he completely lost his hearing, Beethoven attempted to help his hearing through the use of hearing aids of the day, including the ear horn. He left extensive conversation books that instruct even people today on how he wanted his music to be performed.
Lance Allred was the first legally deaf player in the NBA, and was born with over 75 percent hearing loss. He helped lead the USA to second place in the 2002 World Deaf Basketball Championship in Greece, and moved on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is a well known speaker and author who inspires students around the country to keep reaching for their dreams and not let hearing loss hold them back. He also holds basketball camps for deaf and hearing impaired youth in Texas. Allred uses a hearing aid to manage his hearing loss.
Undiagnosed mumps left Rob Lowe deaf in one ear as a baby. He has spoken about how loud restaurants are difficult for him to hear in, and how hearing the world out of only one ear has impacted his life. Lowe grew up not being able to use his right ear, but has prospered in his professional life all the same.
William Shatner has been outspoken about his tinnitus which began after standing too close to an special effects explosion on the set of Star Trek. He has talked about the mental strain that constant noise has had on him, and worked for a cure. He has tried to raise awareness surrounding the rising statistics of children with hearing loss sustained from loud music and noises, and the effects tinnitus has on men and women returning from war.
Ever funny, Stephen Colbert has managed to even poke fun at his own hearing impairment. Colbert’s hearing loss is a result of a tumor that doctors found in his ear when he was in grade school. Resulting surgery removed the tumor, but left him deaf in that ear. Colbert has learned to manage through lip reading and using his good ear.
Bill Clinton ignored his hearing impairment for years before getting treatment. He has high-frequency hearing deficiency, the most common form of hearing loss, most likely the result of loud noises sustained while hunting, political rallies, and loud music. Clinton discovered his hearing loss during a routine physical and now wears two in-the-canal hearing aids to assist him.