7 Well Known People Who Have Experienced Hearing Loss

7 Well Known People Who Have Experienced Hearing Loss

People who have experienced hearing loss from birth or from childhood illnesses, or impairment related to aging, include individuals from all walks of life. Here are a few well-known public figures who have experienced hearing loss.

Marlee Matlin

Academy Award-Winning Actress & Advocate

Best known for her award-winning film debut in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God, Matlin experienced hearing loss at about 18 months old when she lost all hearing in her right ear and 80 percent in her left due to an illness. She’s since been an active advocate for the deaf community.

Chris Colwill

U.S. Olympic Diver

Competing in both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics, Colwill was born with 60 percent hearing loss in both ears. He wears hearing aids to assist his listening, but he isn’t able to wear them when diving. He says that on the diving platform, he’s essentially only able to decipher when his dive is announced by hearing the applause.

Lou Ferrigno

Bodybuilder & Actor

Weightlifter and Incredible Hulk star Ferrigno attributes his profound hearing loss to a series of ear infections he suffered in his infancy that resulted in nearly 80 percent hearing loss, diagnosed at three years old. Since 2012, he has improved his hearing via a fully implanted cochlear stimulator.

Lance Allred

Professional Basketball Player

In 2008, Allred became the first legally deaf NBA player. Since then he has used his position to encourage children with hearing loss to play through clinics and camps. He was born with 80 percent hearing loss and wears hearing aids to improve his listening abilities.

Bill Clinton

Former U.S. President

Clinton has been using hearing aids for nearly 20 years due to his high-frequency hearing deficiency. His hearing loss was attributed to his age, as well as playing loud music with his band in his youth. As his loss has progressed, he has since graduated from removable hearing aids to completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids.

Rob Lowe

Emmy-Nominated Actor

The West Wing star Lowe has been hearing impaired since his childhood. He became deaf in one ear at eight to nine months old due to undiagnosed mumps and says he experiences hearing difficulty in noisy areas.

Holly Hunter

Academy Award-Winning Actress

Before winning an Oscar for playing a mute woman in The Piano, Hunter was left deaf in her left ear due to a case of the mumps as a child. She attributes a part of her success in her field to her heightened awareness of details due to striving harder to listen and hear what people are saying to her.

These are just a few of the many people out there in a variety of fields who have experienced hearing loss – for those with hearing impairments, you are in good company.


Source: Biography.com, Los Angeles Times, EverydayHearing.com, HearingHealthMatters.com, LanceAllred41.com, AARP