Stephen Colbert & Other Celebrities Who Live With Hearing Loss


One of the best things about a celebrity is when they are relatable to not only their fans but the public as well. They’re a lot like us in many ways when you take away their fame and fortune, and just like us, they too, go through many struggles. Over the years, there have been many celebrities who have shared that they are suffering from hearing loss, or are completely deaf.

Even though these celebrities are facing the challenges of hearing loss, or going deaf completely, that hasn’t stopped them from living their lives and achieving their dreams. That shows us that anything is possible and nothing can hold us back, despite the setback. These celebrities have achieved great things despite their hearing loss.

10 Stephen Colbert

Many people might not realize that late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert actually suffers from hearing loss. Since he was a child, Stephen has been deaf in his right ear. According to the late-night host, he had a tumor when he was a kid and has surgery to fix it.

However, it caused damaged to his inner ear and he lost his hearing completely. When he was a child, he wanted to become a marine biologist, however, the problems with his ear crushed those dreams rather quickly. It wound up working out for him in the end, though, as he has a pretty cool talk show.

9 Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is an actress who is not only deaf but has accomplished so much during her career. When she was 21 years old, she won the Academy Award for her role as Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God. Not only was she the youngest performer to ever receive the best actress Academy Award, but the first hearing-impaired person to win the award as well. By winning the award, she has proven that being deaf doesn’t stop her. She’s been deaf for most of her life, as she lost her hearing when she had the measles when she was just 18 months old.

8 Bill Clinton

Many might not have realized that former President Bill Clinton suffers from hearing loss. Back in 1997 when he was still in office, he became the second sitting president that was fitted for hearing aids. He was just 51 years old at the time and proved that it was okay to get hearing aids at a young age and to take care of your hearing. He also spread awareness about hearing aids, as well as his daughter Chelsea, worked with Starkey Hearing Foundation to help fit people in developing countries with hearing aids.

7 Nyle DiMarco

Model Nyle DiMarco made headlines as he became the first deaf contestant to appear on Dancing With The Stars. Nyle has been deaf his entire life as he was born into a family that has multiple generations of deaf people. Fans wondered how he would be able to compete on the show since he wouldn’t be able to hear the music he was dancing to.

It turned out that Nyle was an amazing dancer, and with the help of his partner Peta Murgatroyd, he was able to do so. He learned most of the dance moves by simply watching Peta perform the moves. He interpreted the music by watching Peta over and over, and he was able to pick up the choreography with a lot of practice.

6 Halle Berry

Many people might not realize that actress Halle Berry is actually hearing impaired. She lost about 80% of her hearing in her right ear, all thanks to an abusive ex. Back in 2004 she shared that an ex boyfriend hit her so hard in the head that she suffered a traumatic brain injury and had damage to her ear that caused her to lose most of her hearing in her right ear. This didn’t slow her down at all, as she not only went on to have a successful career but also became an advocate for domestic abuse so others wouldn’t have to go through what she has to go through herself.

5 Jane Lynch

Actress and host Jane Lynch is another celebrity who suffers from hearing loss. Based on her performances on screen, though, you’d never be able to tell. In fact, Jane didn’t even realize she was deaf in her right ear until she was 7 years old. She was fooling around with his transistor radio as the two were listening together, and her brother kept switching it from ear to ear. She got angry, telling him to stop because you could only hear from one ear. When he replied that he could hear from both ears, then she realized that something was definitely up. It obviously didn’t stop her though, as she went on to have a successful career.

4 Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg is rocking the hearing aids these days, as she suffers from hearing loss. Unlike a lot of the other celebs on this list, Whoopi didn’t have some sort of traumatic injury, or was born with her hearing loss. Instead, her hearing loss was more of a natural thing, and attributes it to listen to music way too loud and getting older. She’s an advocate for hearing loss and wearing hearing aids, as she’s a proud supporter of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.  You’d never know that she wears the hearing aids, as they’re hidden under her dreadlocks!

3 Millie Bobby Brown

Believe it or not, as young as Millie Bobby Brown is, she also suffers from hearing loss as she is deaf in one ear. Millie is young, and she was born with partial hearing loss that eventually completely went away as she got older. We all know that it hasn’t stopped her acting career, and she’s recently gotten into music as well. She has learned to make it work and adjusts herself so she’s able to hear the director and her fellow actors while she’s on set. In fact, you’d never know that she couldn’t hear now could you?

2 Derrick Coleman Jr.

Football player Derrick Coleman Jr. has overcome so much and defied many odds by becoming a professional football player while wearing hearing aids. Derrick is deaf, and he lost his hearing completely when he was three years old due to his genetics. From a very young age, he was fit with hearing aids and gave a football a shot. He was good at football and didn’t let his hearing aids stop him. He made things work, made sure that he could play, and figured out how to wear a cap under his helmet to make sure that his hearing aids wouldn’t fall out. He learned how to read lips and made things work — you’d never know he was deaf when he was on the field. He eventually played for the Seattle Seahawks and even became a Super Bowl Champion.

1 Rob Lowe

Actor Rob Lowe has been deaf in one ear his entire life. When he was just a baby he had the mumps, however, it was never diagnosed properly. As a result, the virus ran rampant and destroyed the cochlea in his right ear which made him lose his hearing in that ear in its entirety, all before he was one year old. Obviously, he didn’t let his hearing loss impact his career, as he went on to land some pretty successful roles. He makes things work and has learned to live with the hearing loss.

NEXT: The ‘Terminator 2’ Incident That Caused Linda Hamilton’s Hearing Loss


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About The Author

Danielle Gittleman
(261 Articles Published)

Danielle Gittleman is a writer and editor from Freehold, New Jersey.

Passionate about music, entertainment, and writing, Danielle has put her love for them together, and specializes in music and entertainment journalism.

Danielle is a freelance writer, where she has written for websites such as TheTravel, contributing travel and vacation articles, as well as TheRichest, where she wrote celebrity and entertainment content until it stopped publishing in the Fall of 2018.

Danielle currently writes pop culture stories for TheThings, where she contributes several articles a week to the website.

Additionally, Danielle was also a co-founder of her own online music magazine, White Noise Zine, where she conducted interviews with musicians, wrote music news and features, and helped produce bi-monthly online issues of the magazine. Danielle also did press for the Vans Warped tour for three years in a row, and worked with ReverbNation on campaigns to find artists to feature in White Noise Zine.

Danielle is a dedicated person and puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She is a hard worker, and is extremely passionate about her writing, and couldn’t dream of doing anything else.

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