Hearing loss is a big problem - approximately 37.5 million adults, or 15% of American adults have mild to moderate hearing loss. Although approximately three to four million hearing aids are sold in the United States every year, only about one in five people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually use one. That’s almost 30 million people that need help hearing. With such a large number of American's suffering from hearing loss, you shouldn't be surprised to hear many well known celebrities also use hearing aid equipment! Here are just a few well known faces.
Due to his years and years of playing loud rock and roll music with no hearing protection, Huey Lewis suffers from substantial hearing loss and tinnitus. As a result, he wears hearing aids in both ears. His hearing loss got worse when he suffered from Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear imbalance that can cause hearing loss and vertigo. In 2018, he was forced to cancel a concert tour because he couldn't hear the music well enough to find the proper pitch for his singing. Lewis is open about his hearing loss and works to raise awareness about the dangers of loud music and hearing loss.
Academy Award winning actress, comedian, and co-host of TV’s The view, Whoopi Goldberg has not let wearing hearing aids in both ears get in the way of her success. Her hearing loss is most likely noise-induced, as she claims she spent her younger years listening to very loud music very close to her ears. She is very open about her experience with hearing loss in the hopes that she can prevent young people from making the same mistake she did.
Lou Ferrigno has experienced severe hearing loss in both of his ears due to an ear infection he had when he was only three years old. The former bodybuilder and star of “The Incredible Hulk” TV show has lost 75 percent of his hearing and wears hearing aids in both ears. He's also learned to read lips to help him communicate better with others. Because he has had to wear hearing aids since the age of four, Ferrigno feels that his hearing loss helped push him to succeed in life.
Movie prop maker and host of TV’s Mythbusters, Adam Savage has worn a hearing aid in his left ear for years. Savage suffers from the congenital condition otosclerosis, which causes abnormal bone growth in the middle ear and interferes with proper sound transmission. He says that he carries an extra hearing aid with him wherever he goes. His openness about his condition caused many of his fans to seek hearing tests and have their hearing loss treated.
Bill Clinton, our 42nd president of the United States, suffers from hearing loss, most likely due to a combination of presbycusis and noise-induced hearing loss from his teenage years in a rock band. He had difficulty hearing in situations with background noise, such as in restaurants or other crowded places. Like many people experiencing hearing loss, he ignored it for years. At the age of 51, during his second term as president, he sought the help of an audiologist and was fitted with two in-canal hearing aids. He now advocates for hearing aid technology and travels around the world promoting the importance of hearing health in developing countries.
How Hearing Aids Help People With Hearing Loss
When people experience hearing loss, certain hair cells within the cochlea of the inner are damaged; these hair cells never grow back. Different hair cells are responsible for different frequencies of a person’s range of hearing, so when hair cells are lost, the person’s ability to hear in that frequency is also lost; usually the ability to hear higher frequencies, such as birds chirping or high musical notes, are lost first. Hearing aids are programmed and adjusted by an audiologist to pick up and then amplify sounds in any weakened frequencies, allowing the wearer to hear as if those hair cells were healthier.
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: