Hollywood Stars with Hearing Challenges

Earlier this month, in recognition of the Super Bowl, we discussed well-known football players with hearing loss. Since it’s almost time for the Academy Awards, we wanted to share the stories of several acclaimed actors with hearing loss.

Jodie Foster has often been praised as one of the best actresses of her generation. Although she rarely speaks of her private life, she has been seen wearing a hearing aid, and has spoken about her issues with hearing loss and vertigo. Her career began at the age of three as a model, and she continues to contribute to the film industry in front of and behind the camera.

Halle Berry, actress, film producer, and former fashion model, won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2002 for her performance in Monster’s Ball.  As of this writing, she remains the only black woman to win a Best Actress Academy Award to date. Berry, a former victim of domestic violence, is now a vocal advocate against it. In describing her personal experiences with abuse, she said, “It was only when I was in an abusive relationship and blood squirted on the ceiling of my apartment and I lost 80 percent of my hearing in my ear that I realized, I have to break the cycle.”

Rob Lowe is deaf in his right ear as a result of a viral infection contracted as a baby. Although he claims to live in a “mono world”, he also touted that his unilateral hearing loss helps him to ignore people he doesn’t want to listen to, and helps him sleep better by simply lying on his normal hearing ear. A prolific actor on screen and TV, Lowe won two SAG awards for his role in the acclaimed TV series The West Wing, and has been nominated for six Golden Globe Awards and one Emmy.

Whoopi Goldberg has been nominated for thirteen Emmy Awards for her work in television and was the second black woman ever to win an acting Oscar (Best Supporting Actress). As a co-host of the daytime talk show The View, Goldberg revealed in 2015 that she wears hearing aids during a segment on the World Health Organization’s call to limit exposure to loud music. Goldberg attributed her hearing loss to decades of listening to loud music and standing next to the speakers during concerts.