Famous People with Hearing Loss

They don’t let hearing loss get in the way of their dreams.

Halle Berry                620-06-hearing-loss-celebrity-halle-berry.imgcache.rev1409773563612.web

A victim of domestic violence some 20 years ago, Oscar winner Halle Berry lost 80 percent of her hearing in her left ear when an abusive boyfriend struck her repeatedly. She often speaks about her hearing loss to raise awareness and help other women break the cycle of violence.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Rob Lowe                  620-08-hearing-loss-celebrity-rob-lowe.imgcache.rev1409773519298.web

Undiagnosed mumps when he was a baby left Lowe totally deaf in his right ear. “Really loud restaurants drive me ballistic,” Lowe told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I live in a mono world. I wish I could [hear in] stereo. But other than that, I don’t think about my hearing loss.’’

Dennis Van Tine/Corbis

Bill Clinton               620-02-hearing-loss-celebrity-bill-clinton.imgcache.rev1409773727340.web

Like many boomers, Clinton ignored his hearing difficulties for years until doctors diagnosed him with high-frequency hearing deficiency, the most common form of hearing loss. Described as an inability to distinguish sounds in noisy, crowded situations with a lot of background chatter (such as restaurants, theaters or political rallies), it’s linked to aging and exposure to loud noise. Clinton now wears two in-canal hearing aids.

Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

Holly Hunter            620-09-hearing-loss-celebrity-holly-hunter.imgcache.rev1409773539218.web

A childhood bout with mumps left Hunter deaf in her left ear. But this Academy Award winner known for her edgy roles and acute attention to detail told CNN that her disability has been a boon to her career: “I’ve had to listen so intently to what people are saying,” she said — and she transfers that attention to detail to her roles.

Kay Nietfeld/Corbis

Stephen Colbert       620-03-hearing-loss-celebrity-stephen-colbert.imgcache.rev1409773692580.web

The political satirist and Emmy-winning talk show host was in elementary school when doctors discovered a tumor in his right ear. In order to safely remove it, they also had to remove Colbert’s eardrum, leaving him deaf in that ear.

Evan Agostini/AP

Jane Lynch                620-07-hearing-loss-celebrity-jane-lynch.imgcache.rev1409773602683.web

Best known for her role on the hit TV show Glee, Lynch didn’t realize she was deaf in her right ear — probably from a high fever when she was a baby — until she was 7 years old. “My brother was switching his transistor radio from one ear to the other,’’ she explained in her 2011 memoir, Happy Accidents. “I said, ‘You can’t do that. You can only hear out of one ear.’ He said, ‘No, I can hear out of both!’”

Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Trevor Project

Robert Redford        620-01-hearing-loss-celebrity-robert-redford.imgcache.rev1409773759879.web

Redford, 78, insisted on performing his own stunts while filming his critically acclaimed 2013  movie, All Is Lost. Playing a solo sailor stranded in the Indian Ocean, he was submerged in a massive water tank day after day and pelted with water from an off-camera hose. The result: a severe ear infection that permanently robbed him of 60 percent of his hearing in his left ear.

Hubert Boesl/Corbis

Jodie Foster              620-10-hearing-loss-celebrity-jodie-foster.imgcache.rev1409773497832.web

Foster is notoriously circumspect about all areas of her personal life, but she confessed to a Chicago Tribune reporter that she’s not very good about taking care of her own health needs, especially “this hearing-loss thing” and her mysterious attacks of vertigo. She has been spotted wearing a hearing aid.

Stephane Cardinale/Corbis

Pete Townshend      620-05-hearing-loss-celebrity-pete-townshend.imgcache.rev1409773622352.web

The iconic songwriter and guitarist of the Who attributes his hearing loss and tinnitus to years of mega-decibel rock concerts and practice sessions, along with long-term use of headphones. Not helping matters any was Townshend’s bandmate Keith Moon, who’d use explosives to blow up his drum set — including a particularly powerful and deafening blast at the end of a 1967 appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh        620-04-hearing-loss-celebrity-rush-limbaugh.imgcache.rev1409773649451.web

In 2001, Limbaugh announced that he was virtually deaf. At the time, he said doctors had diagnosed autoimmune inner-ear disease, a rare condition. But according to CBS News and other news sources, his use of opioid painkillers may have contributed to his hearing loss. With two cochlear implants, he’s regained some hearing.

George Gojkovich/Getty Images


21 thoughts on “Famous People with Hearing Loss

  1. I just learned of this site from my friend, https://www.facebook.com/OutreachJenny/ . I am not happy that I share this condition with famous people, but I am encouraged that hearing loss has not stopped them from being awesome. I’m working on my awesome … being almost deaf in my right ear and relying on a hearing aid in my left for about 13 years now, and getting worse with age. But it won’t stop me. It doesn’t define me and the greatest challenge I face is hoping that people don’t think I’m stupid because I don’t answer the question they are asking correctly. It’s a bit lonely.

    I will continue to be who I am, no matter my physical condition. Signing out now … I have to go be awesome.

    1. Jodi,
      You will find other like minded people in the Hearing Loss Association of America http://hearingloss.org/ We also refuse to be defined by hearing loss — and with the advances in research and electronics hearing loss is moving closer to being no more ‘disabling’ than wearing glasses.

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