If you think you are alone with your hearing loss, think again. In the US, one in 9 people have some form of hearing problem. In fact, hearing loss is the 3rd most prevalent chronic condition after circulatory problems and arthritis, affecting close to 35 million Americans, many of whom wear hearing aids. You will find yourself in the colorful company of ex-US presidents, actors, musicians, sports stars and ex-astronauts – a few of which we’ve listed below.
Bill Clinton, ex president of the USA
Former US president Clinton attributes his hearing loss to his long passion for the saxophone, music concerts and his early years in the presidential circuit (the many campaign rallies and helicopter rides didn’t help…). During his second term, he resorted to a pair of state of the art digital hearing aids and triggered a major awareness movement about hearing loss.
Ronald Reagan, ex president of the USA
President Reagan suffered from hearing loss on his left ear for many years, as a result of a gun fired at him on a movie set, during his previous life as a Hollywood actor. He was fitted with hearing aids over the course of his presidential tenure and became a public spokesperson for various prominent hearing loss associations thereafter.
Will.I.Am, the Black Eyed Peas
The singer of the Black Eyed Peas suffers from a strong Tinnitus, and hears constant ringing in the ear. In an interview with the Sun, Wil.I.Am said that much of his success can be attributed to his inability to slow down: “I don’t know what silence sounds like any more. Music is the only thing which eases my pain.”
Pete Townshend, guitar/vocals The Who
The legendary guitarist of The Who has been suffering from Tinnitus and hearing loss for many years: “I have severe hearing damage. It’s manifested itself as Tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It hurts, it’s painful, and it’s frustrating.” He is completely deaf in his right ear as a result of constant exposure to loud amps, playbacks and concerts – and one explosion when Keith Moon blew up his drum set live on stage in the 1960s.
Phil Collins, vocals Genesis
The former Genesis front man has been a long advocate for those suffering from hearing loss. In fact he recently announced that he would significantly reduce the number of concerts in order to avoid suffering from continuing hearing loss in his left ear.
Bono, vocals U2
The lead singer from U2 is said to be suffering from Tinnitus – and allegedly sings about hearing impairment in his music (check out the lyrics for Staring at the Sun). In fact, Bono got his name from a hearing aid store back in Dublin, that had a sign that read “Bonavox Hearing Aids”.
Others include: Sting, Moby, Eric Clapton, Cher, George Harrison, Ozzy Osborne and many more
Barbra Streisand, Singer/Actress and political activist
This diva has apparently been suffering from Tinnitus since early childhood, at the age of seven. In an interview with The Independent, a British newspaper, she believes her volatile temperament is a result of her hearing problem, which disrupts her sleep and affects her balance.
Leslie Nielsen, Actor/Comedian
Known for spearheading cult comedies such as Airplane! and the Naked Gun, Nielsen suffered from sensorineural hearing loss. He wore hearing aids for most of his life and became a spokesman for hearing loss organizations such as the Better Hearing Institute.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Actors Kirk/Spock in Star Trek
Shatner and Nimoy, best known for their roles as Captain Kirk and Spock in the Star Trek series, are long time sufferers from Tinnitus. The two were standing next to an explosive device on the Star Trek set, when the device suddenly went off. Shatner’s Tinnitus problem eventually became so severe that it drove him to contemplate suicide, according to public statements. He then underwent Tinnitus retraining therapy involving a so called white noise device that trained him to ignore or accommodate to the sounds of Tinnitus.
Others include: Sylvester Stallone, David Letterman, Keanu Reeves and many more
Hearing loss, in whatever form it appears, can affect all of us. It’s up to us to ignore the problem or address it. If we can help you learn more about hearing loss and hearing aids, you know where to find us.
Sources: Audicus Hearing Aids, Better Hearing Institute, Hear-It, The Sun