A hearing impairment exists when an individual is not sensitive to the sounds normally heard by its kind. In human beings, the term hearing impairment is usually reserved for people who have relative insensitivity to sound in the speech frequencies.
Hearing loss can be inherited. Both dominant and recessive genes exist which can cause mild to profound impairment. If a family has a dominant gene for deafness it will persist across generations because it will manifest itself in the offspring even if it is inherited from only one parent.
People who are hard of hearing have varying amounts of hearing loss but usually not enough to be considered deaf. Many people who are deaf consider spoken language their primary language and consider themselves "hard of hearing".
People with unilateral hearing loss (single sided deafness/SSD) can hear normally in one ear, but have trouble hearing out of the other ear. Problems with this type of deficit is inability to localize sounds.
Those who lose their hearing later in life, such as in late adolescence or adulthood, face their own challenges. For example, they must adjust to living with the adaptations that make it possible for them to live independently. They may have to adapt to using hearing aids or a cochlear implant, develop speech-reading skills, and/or learn sign language.
List of Famous and Well Known People Who Have or Had Hearing Impairments
- Alan T. Hurwitz - Current president of Gallaudet University.
- Andrew Foster
- Angela Stratiy
- Ayumi Hamasaki
- Bernard Bragg - An accomplished actor, director, playwright and lecturer
- Betty G. Miller
- Christy Smith - Deaf contestant on "Survivor"
- Chuck Baird
- Clayton Valli - Dr. Valli's Ph.D. in Linguistics and ASL Poetics
- Cliff Bastin - British footballer
- Douglas Tilden
- Evelyn Glennie
- Ferdinand Berthier
- Foxy Brown
- Francisco Goya - Spanish painter
- Gabriel Faure - French composer.
- Georgia Horsley - Miss England 2007. Also a contestant in Miss World 2007.
- Gertrude Ederle
- Granville Redmond - American painter.
- Guillaume Amontons - French inventor and physicist.
- Harold MacGrath
- Heather Whitestone McCallum
- Helen Keller
- Henry Lawson
- I. King Jordan - was the first president of Gallaudet University with a profound hearing loss.
- Joachim du Bellay
- John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) - American, itinerant artist of the Federalist Period in America.
- Johnnie Ray
- Julia Brace
- Juliette Gordon Low
- Laura Bridgman (1829-1889) - American, first deaf-blind student of Dr. Samuel Howe at the Perkins School for the Blind.
- Laurent Clerc
- Linda Bove
- Lon Chaney, Sr. - American actor raised by deaf parents, his upbringing allowed him to better communicate in silent film.
- Lou Ferrigno
- Louis Long
- Ludwig Van Beethoven
- Luis Bunuel - Spanish surrealist filmmaker and poet.
- Marlee Matlin - became the first Deaf woman to win an Academy Award for her role in Children of a Lesser God. She won for Best Actress.
- Marneen Fields
- Miha Zupan
- Nanette Fabray
- Oliver Heaviside
- Pete Townshend
- Phyllis Frelich - won the Tony Award for her role in the stage production of Children of a Lesser God.
- Pierre de Ronsard - French poet.
- Pierre Desloges
- Pinky Aiello
- Robert R. Davila - Former president of Gallaudet University.
- Rudi Carrell
- Ryan Adams
- Sean Berdy - Plays a deaf character named Emmett in "Switched at Birth" (2011-present), but in real life he's deaf. And, his TV mom is the famous deaf actress Marlee Matlin who also plays a deaf character and is also deaf in real life as well.
- Shosannah Stern - Plays a deaf character named Megan who is Silas Botwin's love interest in season 1-2 and then again in season 8 as his wife in Jenji Kohan's "Weeds" (2005-2012), but in real life, she's deaf/hard-of-hearing.
- Sir William McMahon - Australian politician and former Prime Minister.
- Terrylene Sachetti - Deaf actress, poet, storyteller, mime, and dancer
- Thomas Edison
- Trix Bruce
- Walter Geikie - Scottish painter.
- William Elsworth - Dummy Hoy
- William Shatner - In a National Public Radio (NPR) interview broadcast on February 18, 2012, actor William Shatner discussed his challenges with tinnitus and urged listeners to seek treatment if they have the condition.
NOTE: If you know of a discrepancy, or someone we have missed who should be on this list, please contact us so we can amend the entry.