Stars with Hearing Loss: 10 Celebrities Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

August 4, 2021 BY KELLY MAHONEY
Updated: December 13, 2023

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According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million people in the United States alone report some degree of hearing loss—almost 20% of our population! Statistically, this means there are quite a few deaf celebrities. Take a look at our compilation of 10 celebrities you didn’t realize have hearing loss:

1. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
At the age of 51, former President Bill Clinton was fitted with completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids while still in office in 1997. His hearing had progressively worsened throughout his adult life, and he often complained of being unable to hear in crowded rooms. According to the former president’s hearing specialist, his hearing loss is likely the result of Clinton’s age, coupled with too much exposure to loud music during the band-playing days of his youth.

2. Derrick Coleman

Derrick Coleman

Derrick Coleman, Jr. is currently the only Deaf player in the National Football League (NFL), as well as the first Deaf offensive player in NFL history. Born with a genetic abnormality that caused complete hearing loss at 3 years old, Coleman started playing & fell in love with football in 6th grade. Throughout his school years, he fought against the odds in a sport that is traditionally inaccessible to Deaf people and Coleman continued on to play for UCLA. Although he was the last college player to be accepted in the 2012 NFL draft, Coleman became a Superbowl champion 2 years later with the Seattle Seahawks’ 2014 victory. Currently, Coleman is signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

3. Halle Berry

Halle Berry poses at a movie premiere, wearing a black collared shirt and her hair pulled back
Halle Berry, the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, lost nearly 80% of her hearing in her left resulting from a blow to the head during a domestic violence incident in a previous abusive relationship. Berry is now an outspoken advocate for raising awareness about domestic violence.

4. Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch wears a collared white shirt and poses with her arms folded next to her face
Most likely the result of a high fever during infancy, Glee star and comedic actress Jane Lynch has been deaf in her right ear for almost all of her life. Up until the age of 7, she assumed that people just didn’t hear out of their left ear – until one day her brother told her he could hear out of both of his ears!

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5. Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin
Marlee Matlin is probably one of the most well-known Deaf celebrities out there, but not everyone may know she is deaf. In 2008, Matlin participated in a season of Dancing with the Stars and said fans sent her hundreds of letters each week about how much they appreciate that she’s opened their eyes to the notion “that Deaf people can do anything except hear.”

6. Nyle DiMarco

Nyle DiMarco
If you just saw him posing in a magazine, you wouldn’t know Nyle DiMarco has been deaf since birth and was born into a large, multigenerational Deaf family. Another well-known Deaf celebrity, Nyle has enjoyed a surging career in modeling & acting since his big break as the winner of America’s Next Top Model in 2015 and went on to be the second deaf contestant on Dancing with the Stars after none other than (you guessed it!) Marlee Matlin. Nyle ultimately became the first Deaf person ever to win the competition.

7. Millie Bobby Brown


Millie Bobby Brown

British actress and model, Millie Bobby Brown, best known for playing the character Eleven in the series Stranger Things, was born with partial hearing loss in one of her ears. Over several years, she eventually completely lost hearing on that side. When she’s performing, she can’t fully hear herself, but, she hasn’t let that slow her down.

8. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert
Emmy-winning late-night talk show host & political satirist Stephen Colbert has been deaf in his right ear since his youth. A surgery on his inner ear when he was in elementary school caused him to lose all hearing on his right side and altered the shape of his ear. Since then, he has made light of his condition and turned his uniquely shaped ear into a party trick.

9. William Shatner

William Shatner
William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain James T. Kirk from Star Trek in the late 1960s, suffers from tinnitus. He attributes his tinnitus to a small special effects explosion that occurred on the set of Star Trek one day while filming. He works with & has found help through the American Tinnitus Association and is an advocate for research into finding a cure for the condition.

10. Jennifer Lawrence


Jennifer Lawrence

While filming The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she temporarily lost her hearing due to an injury and multiple ear infections. A water jet punctured her eardrum while performing the film’s underwater stunts. Lawrence has since made a full recovery.

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This blog post was originally published by Patrick Loftus on May 22, 2017, and has since been updated for accuracy, clarity, and freshness.

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