5 Famous People You Didn't Know That Wear Hearing Aids
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hearing loss affects 466 million people globally, a number that is estimated to grow to 900 million by the year 2050. However, there is a great disparity in the number of people that actually use hearing aids and the number of people that would benefit from using hearing aids. WHO reports that only 17% of people who would benefit from wearing hearing aids actually use them. What keeps the remaining 83% from using a hearing aid?
Beyond cost and access, the stigma of hearing loss and wearing hearing aids remains a major reason why many people choose not to use them. There are many preconceived notions about hearing aid users that may cause people to be embarrassed and less likely to use them. However, research studies have shown that hearing aids can actually improve your health-related quality of life - in other words, hearing aids can make you physically and mentally healthier!
Here are 5 notable people that defy hearing aid user stereotypes with their successful careers and lives, some of these names may even surprise you:
- Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was diagnosed with high-frequency hearing deficiency after ignoring the problem for many years. He was fitted for his first set of hearing aids in 1997, during his second term of presidency. He opted for discreet in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids, similar to ones used by Ronald Reagan, another former president with hearing loss. Clinton has since become a proponent of hearing aids, he went on a mission to Africa with his daughter in 2013 to help provide hearing aid access to children.
2. Huey Lewis
The lead singer of Huey Lewis and the News, known for 1980s hits like Hip to Be Square, was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease in 2018. Lewis told Rolling Stone that the onset of his hearing loss left him extremely depressed and unable to hear or make music. However, as time went on he found that some days were better than others, he now uses a scale of 1 to 10 to gauge his hearing level. “If it’s 6 and I have hearing aids in, I can hear speech for sure, and I can hear the phone and TV okay,” he explained to AARP. Defying all odds, Lewis was able to put out a new album in February of 2020 and continues to work on new projects such as bringing his musical The Heart of Rock and Roll to Broadway.
3. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster, famous for her award-winning performances in movies such as The Silence of the Lambs and Taxi Driver, has been photographed wearing in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids in public. She keeps most details of her personal life private, however, she revealed in an interview that she experiences vertigo and is not always the best at “this hearing-loss thing.”
4. Derrick Coleman
Derrick Coleman, perhaps best known for helping the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl in 2014, made history as the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL. He has been deaf since the age of three and has recounted how he used to tape his hearing aids to his head in order to play football when he was younger. Along with using his hearing aids, he has stated that being proficient in lip reading also helps him on the field. Coleman began the No Excuse Foundation, named after the two words he lives by, to aid kids living with disabilities. After his viral Duracell commercial, showcasing his need for hearing aid batteries, he received letters from two little girls who use hearing aids. They told him that he inspired them and he responded with the memorable statement that “even though we wear hearing aids, we can still accomplish our goals and dreams!”
5. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg is an Academy Award winning actress and comedian who is known for her roles in films such as The Color Purple and Ghost, these days she makes headlines for her strong opinions on the talk show The View. She has stated that she suffers from low frequency hearing loss which she combats by wearing hearing aids in both ears. Remarkably, Goldberg is one of the 16 impressive people to have achieved EGOT status, having won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.
Whether you are fans of all five of these individuals or not, it is undeniable that they all achieved great things and various successes in their lives despite having to overcome the adversity that comes with hearing loss. These individuals all use hearing aids to help them in their day-to-day lives and tasks. Hopefully reading about them inspires you or gives you comfort that, with time and the use of hearing aids, you can still maintain a fulfilled life no matter where you are on your hearing loss journey.