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9 Academy Award-Winning Celebrities with Hearing Impairment

After the Academy Awards on February 22nd, we thought it fitting to take a look at the successes achieved by some hearing impaired celebrities in the entertainment world.

1. Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe has complete hearing loss in his right ear as a result of a childhood illness. He is best known for his role on the West Wing which ran from 1999 to 2006. Lowe is also known as being a member of the Brat Pack, a nickname given to a group of young actors who frequently appeared together in teen oriented films such as St. Elmo’s Fire and the Outsiders.

2. Halle Berry

Halle Berry lost 80% of her hearing in her left ear as a result of being struck repeatedly in a case of domestic violence. She often speaks about this experience as a way of creating awareness and helping break the cycle of violence for other women. Halle Berry’s most recognized acting achievement was in 2002 when she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball.

3. Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch realized at the young age of seven that she had complete hearing loss in one ear due to nerve damage resulting from what doctors guessed to be a very high fever as a baby. Jane made a name for herself playing several mockumentary style roles such as Best in Show before being cast as Coach Sue Sylvester in the television musical, Glee.

4. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg wears hearing aids in both ears. She attributes her hearing loss to consistently listening to very loud music in the past. Whoopi has played a multitude of roles on the stage, on film, and most recently as a co-host on ABC’s The View. She won an Oscar in 1991 for Best Supporting Actress role of Oda Mae Brown in the film Ghost.

5. Robert Redford

Robert Redford suffered from a severe ear infection in 2013 when he insisted on performing his own water stunts while playing a stranded sailor in the Indian Ocean in All Is Lost. The result was that he now suffers from 60% hearing loss in one ear. Redford has won two Oscars over his long and successful Hollywood career – the first for Best Director of the 1981 film Ordinary People and the second in 2002 was an Honorary Award. He was also nominated for 2 additional Oscars throughout his career.

6. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster has won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for playing Sarah Tobias in The Accused in 1989 and in the same category in 1992 for her role as Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Foster is known for keeping her private life to herself but has confessed to having hearing loss issues and has been spotted wearing a hearing aid.

7. Gerard Butler

Scottish born actor, Gerard Butler, developed a 50% hearing loss in his right ear resulting in surgery due to a childhood ear infection. He attributes his crooked smile to that surgery, which left his right ear physically deformed. Butler is known for a variety of roles including the romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth, and the action/war film, 300.

8. Shoshannah Stern

Shoshannah Stern is among the fourth generation in her family to be born with complete hearing loss. Her break into the acting big leagues came through her role as Megan Beale-Botwin on Showtime’s Weeds and a recurring character on the television series Lie To Me.

9. Marlee Matlin

Perhaps one of the most well-known actors for hearing impairment is Marlee Matlin. Matlin won an Academy Award in 1987 for playing Sarah Norman in the romantic drama, Children of a Lesser God. She has only 20% hearing in one ear since the age of 18 months and is the only performer with a major hearing loss to ever win an Oscar.

Schedule Your Free Hearing Evaluation

If you  have questions about your own hearing, schedule your Free hearing evaluation by calling 800-235-8663 or fill out the request appointment form.

Sources:
AARP
MadameNoire
IMDb
Hands & Voices

Steve Brinkman
Steve has been Beltone's Director of Customer Care for the last 14 years. His goal is to partner with our national network of 1,500 Beltone locations to help ensure the best possible hearing care experience for our patients. More about Steve

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