Celebrity Hearing Challenges

Those with hearing loss often feel socially isolated and alone. It is often difficult to imagine anyone else going through the daily challenges that hearing loss can present. However, it is important for people to understand that hearing loss affects everyone, celebrities included. Many famous people have talked about dealing with the challenges of tinnitus or hearing loss, and how tinnitus treatment or hearing aids have helped them. Golfer Arnie Palmer, race car drivers Al and Bobby Unser, Olympic runner Jim Ryun and Miss American 1995, Heather Whitestone, all helped to increase public awareness.

Whoopi Goldberg, Actor

Whoopi Goldberg is a longtime comedian and actor who openly discusses her hearing loss. Goldberg wears hearing aids in both ears and believes her hearing was damaged through listening to loud music for many years. She has become very involved in educating younger generations about the dangers of listening to music at high volume levels on their portable listening devices.

Gerard Butler, Actor

Gerard Butler is a well-known actor who has starred in films such as Angel Has Fallen, Olympus Has Fallen, and 300. Gerard suffers from tinnitus and hearing loss in one ear largely due to surgery he had as a child.

Halle Berry, Actress

Halle Berry lost 80 percent of hearing in one ear due to domestic violence. She now advocates for domestic abuse victims.

Entertainment figures who have talked about their hearing loss include actors Rob Lowe, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Thomas, and actresses Marlee Matlin and Halle Berry. Other well-known figures include musicians Les Paul, Peter Townsend (The Who), Brian Love (Beach Boys), inventor Thomas Edison and, of course, Beethoven.


Many people in the entertainment world also deal with tinnitus – hearing hissing, ringing or other sounds that are not actually present. Steve Martin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy suffer from tinnitus.

Hearing loss and tinnitus are so common in the rock music world that a foundation was created to help. A foundation called the Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers – H.E.A.R. – provides information and suggestions to help minimize ear damage that can be caused by exposure to loud sounds, including music.

Politicians and hearing loss

Former American president Ronald Reagan probably brought the greatest attention to the problems of hearing loss. When President Reagan began using hearing aids, the media attention motivated many people to get help.

Another former American President, Bill Clinton, started using hearing aids in 1997 while in office. He attributed some of his hearing loss to playing in rock bands when he was young.


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