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In the Public Eye with Hearing Aids

Having hearing issues need not end one’s career as a public speaker. A number of well-known people who were in the public eye quietly and unobtrusively dealt with hearing issues and continued to thrive.

Perhaps the most open about their hearing loss issues was the comedian Leslie Nielsen. Prior to passing away in 2010 after a long career as both a serious actor and comedian — especially his work in Airplane! (1980) and The Naked Gun series (1988–1994) — Nielson was open about his hearing loss and need for hearing aids. He once told an interviewer: “It’s not really that I’ve been an advocate for hearing aids for a long time, it’s just that I’ve been losing my hearing for a long time! So it’s actually very important for me because I’m actually hearing impaired and I simply want to hear better!”

For a number of years former President Bill Clinton has sported hearing aids in both ears, which he was fitted for during his second term in office. After glossing over his increasing hearing loss, Clinton finally came to terms with the moderate high-frequency hearing issues that he had developed. Clinton is an active supporter of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which acts globally to bring hearing aids to the disadvantaged.

But Clinton was not the first U.S. president to use a hearing aid while in office. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan announced that he was using one. He was the first president to wear hearing aids while in office and it was reported at the time in The New York Times. It’s believed Reagan’s hearing loss actually began in the 1930s when a pistol was fired near him in his acting days.

These are just a few examples of people continuing their public careers while managing their hearing loss.

Author Info

Dr. Podlenski

Dr. Podlenski is passionate about the field of hearing health care. He specializes in clinical audiology and working with patients to develop appropriate hearing solutions. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and is Board Certified in Audiology.