It’s often assumed that people with hearing loss aren’t able to lead the full, normal lives that individuals who have regular hearing can — and that simply isn’t true. Advanced hearing aid technology means that hearing loss is manageable, and should not be treated as a career-ending disability.
Hearing loss is widespread in America, affecting roughly 10 percent of the population (25 million people). And while there are countless individuals with hearing loss who have adapted and — often thanks to hearing aids — continue to build careers and lives, the emotional toll of hearing loss can make an impact, and a feeling of isolation isn’t uncommon.
If you or a loved one is dealing with hearing loss, perhaps reading about a few highly successful individuals who have overcome the diagnosis will provide some inspiration. (We shared a few stories like these with you in May; read about more famous people with hearing loss here here.)
Bill Clinton: Facing hearing loss as the President of the United States
Bill Clinton was fitted for hearing aids in 1997 during his second term, following an annual check-up which revealed a high-frequency hearing loss. He was 51 years old at the time, and he became the second president who wore hearing aids while in office (Ronald Reagan was the first). High-frequency hearing loss is often linked to exposure to loud noise and aging; Clinton’s diagnosis meant that he had a difficult time distinguishing sounds in loud environments, such as crowded restaurants or political rallies. Clinton has used his position of influence to promote hearing aids and provide hearing aid technology to those in need.
Derrick Coleman: Tackling hearing loss with an athlete’s perseverance
Seattle Seahawks player Derrick Coleman was the NFL’s first legally deaf offensive player. Coleman lost his hearing at age three as the result of a genetic issue and has worn hearing aids since, but his refusal to let his hearing loss get in the way of a successful career in football shows his determination to not treat his hearing loss like a disability. Coleman learned lip reading to account for the verbal communication that happens in the field.
Today, Coleman’s No Excuse Program helps youths around the country confront their disabilities — including hearing loss — and push beyond them.
Lou Ferrigno: From incredible hearing loss to the Incredible Hulk
Perhaps it would surprise you to learn that Lou Ferrigno — the man who played the original Incredible Hulk — rose to fame despite profound hearing loss. Ferrigno suffered from a series of ear infections as a baby that resulted in the loss of nearly 80 percent of his hearing (though he wasn’t diagnosed with hearing loss until he was three years old). Ferrigno was fitted with hearing aids at age five and has worn them ever since — throughout his successful Hollywood career and through his championships as the two-time winner of the Mr. Universe title.
Ferrigno has attributed his rise to his transparency when it comes to his hearing loss: He has never tried to hide his hearing aids. Acceptance of his hearing loss has made communication on set and in his career possible. Today, Ferrigno stands as one of the foremost champions of achieving your dreams despite hearing loss.
Don’t let hearing loss deter you from living your dreams. Associated Audiologists has doctoral-level professionals who can help diagnose and treat hearing loss. Contact us today to make an appointment, and prevent hearing problems from affecting your everyday lifestyle.