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. Butler 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.

There are many actors, musicians, and historically prominent figures who have struggled with hearing loss. They 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. Tinnitus is the hissing, ringing, or other sounds that are not actually present in the environment. There are instances in which the sounds are in unison with a heartbeat or blood flow.

Celebrities that have struggled with tinnitus include Steve Martin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy.

Hearing loss and tinnitus are often connected. Not surprisingly, it is quite common with musicians. In fact, hearing loss and tinnitus are so common in the rock music world that the Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R) was created. It provides information and helpful suggestions to minimize ear damage that can be caused by exposure to loud sounds, including music.

Politicians and hearing loss

Former American president Ronald Reagan brought a lot of attention to the challenges that hearing loss can create. When President Reagan began using hearing aids, the media attention motivated many people to acknowledge their own hearing loss and 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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