5 Inspiring Celebrities with Hearing Loss
They’re rich, they’re famous, and they’re part of the 48 million Americans living with hearing loss. These inspiring celebrities are helping to shine light on the issue of hearing loss, and their individual stories are sure to make anyone feel less alone on their journey. Learn how each of these motivating celebrities lost their hearing, and how they’ve overcome it, as well. Hearing loss didn’t keep any of these celebrities from achieving their goals – and it shouldn’t keep you from reaching yours either.
Bill Clinton was fitted with his first pair of hearing aids in 1997, during his second term in office as President of the United States. At the time, Clinton was 51 and diagnosed with high-frequency hearing deficiency in both ears. The cause of his hearing loss was attributed both to his age, as well as his band-playing and music-loving youth. Currently, Clinton is an avid advocate for hearing health on an international scale. He has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which aims to fit over 1 million people with hearing aids – worldwide. In 2013, he visited multiple African countries with the organization to spread awareness on hearing health and implementing hearing care in developing communities. Mr. Clinton currently wears completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids in both ears.
Although certainly not a politician, Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who entertains audiences with the “lighter side” of politics. He is also completely deaf in his right ear. In his youth, Colbert underwent surgery to repair a perforated eardrum. The surgery ultimately damaged his inner ear, causing irreversible and permanent hearing loss. He is now able to joke about the surgery, stating about his ear, “they scooped it out with a melon baller”. Watch him make light of the incident in this video.
You may not know him by name, but you probably know his music. Elfman wrote the Simpson’s theme song, and has scored all but one of Tim Burton’s movies. From 1976-1995, he was also the lead singer and songwriter for the band Oingo Boingo. For his musical scores, Elfman has earned four Academy Award nominations, an Emmy and a Grammy. Elfman also suffers from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Elfman attributes his NIHL to his time with his band, and has decided not to entertain the idea of a reunion in an effort to protect the hearing he has left. NICL is an extremely common form of hearing loss that can occur at any age, and affects about 26 million Americans.
You might remember him as part of the Super Bowl Champion team – the Seattle Seahawks – in Super Bowl XLVIII. He is also the third deaf man to play in the NFL, and the first deaf player to be part of a Super Bowl Championship team. Derrick was diagnosed with a rare form of genetic and degenerative hearing loss. At the age of three, he was practically deaf in his left ear, and hearing in his right ear was almost gone by the time he reached elementary school. Coleman was bullied as a child because of his hearing loss – and despite playing well for UCLA, he was not chosen during the 2012 NFL draft. Refusing to give up, he listed as a free agent and was eventually signed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. Coleman opens up about his hearing loss in a sentimental and touching commercial for Duracell.