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14 Celebrities With Hearing Issues

They’re all talented, famous and among the 48 million Americans coping with hearing loss

  • Kevin Mazur

    Whoopi Goldberg

    En español l The Academy Award winner and cohost of The View, Goldberg, 60, wears hearing aids. She attributes her hearing loss to years of listening to loud music and warns others about hearing loss: “Stop it in its tracks because not being able to hear is a bit of a b--ch. I can tell you that from experience," the actor told viewers in 2015.

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    Luis Miguel

    At 46, Mexican superstar singer Luis Miguel has tinnitus, which he blames on 30 years of performing live music. The ringing in his ears led him to put his career on hold in late 2015 to undergo treatment. As he told a reporter in November, “It is a condition that I can overcome and I think I’m controlling it to my best ability with the support of my dear people, doctors and the public.”

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    Lou Ferrigno

    Best known as TV’s Incredible Hulk, actor and former bodybuilder Ferrigno, 64, lost 75 percent of his hearing at the age of 3 due to an ear infection. He’s worn hearing aids since he was 4. “I think my hearing loss helped create a determination within me to be all I can be, and gave me a certain strength of character, too,” Ferrigno told an interviewer in 2005.

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  • Dennis Van Tine/Corbis

    Rob Lowe

    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.’’

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    La Chilindrina

    Mexican actress, comedian and singer María Antonieta de las Nieves, 65, best known for her role as La Chilindrina on the hugely popular 1970s Mexican sitcom El Chavo del Ocho, wears hearing aids. However, her hearing loss continues to cause her difficulties. In March 2016, she announced that she would no longer give telephone interviews, preferring to meet journalists in person. Still, it won’t stop her planned 2017 comedy tour of Latin America.

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  • Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

    Bill Clinton

    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.

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  • Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    Halle Berry

    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.

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  • Evan Agostini/AP

    Stephen Colbert

    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.

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  • George Gojkovich/Getty Images

    Rush Limbaugh

    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.

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  • Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    Pete Townshend

    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.

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  • Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Trevor Project

    Jane Lynch

    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!’”

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  • Hubert Boesl/Corbis

    Robert Redford

    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.

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  • Kay Nietfeld/Corbis

    Holly Hunter

    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.

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  • Stephane Cardinale/Corbis

    Jodie Foster

    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.

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(Video) Hear Better: Quick tips to care for your hearing aid

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