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Famous People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Famous People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

There are dozens of inspiring stories of deaf people (or those who are hard of hearing) who had gone on to become famous, despite the severe impairment or disability. Not being able to hear is not just impairment but an extremely uncomfortable reality.

Helen Keller
But that didn’t stop many people from scaling unprecedented heights with their talents, skills, hard work and willpower.

While Helen Keller is one of the most famous deaf people and her achievements are particularly astounding because she was also blind, the first famous person who was deaf happens to be Teressa de Cartagena. Teressa was a Spanish nun and she lived in the 15th century.

She was deaf and in those times, disabled people were not as well treated as today. Neither was science and technology advanced enough to offer any hearing aids or treatments for deaf people. She went on to become a famous religious writer of her time. Through the centuries, her religious works may have been overshadowed by many other religious works but she is widely regarded as one of the first feminist writers in the world.

List of Famous People who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Ryan Adams
Lance Allred
Chuck Baird
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ferdinand Berthier
Halle Berry
Jean Chrétien
Bill Clinton
Matt Daigle
Gertrude Ederle
Thomas Edison
Danny Elfman
William Elsworth “Dummy” Hoy
Lou Ferrigno
Ashley Fiolek
Phyllis Frelich
Francisco Goya
Matt Hamill
Georgia Horsley
T. Alan Hurwitz
I. King Jordan
Helen Keller
Jim Kyte
Juliette Gordon Low
Rob Lowe
Marlee Matlin
Sir William McMahon
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw
Sue Thomas
Douglas Tilden
Pete Townshend
Heather Whitestone
Brian Wilson

Helen Keller was deaf and blind from the tender age of nineteen months. She suffered from a strange medical condition which led to her double impairment. She didn’t suffer from the condition for a long time but she became deaf and blind for her entire life.

Marlee Matlin

Helen was the first deaf and blind person to have graduated college and she became a famous author, speaker and activist for human rights and for rights of the disabled. It was an unprecedented feat and remains so even today in many ways. She couldn’t see but she wrote many books. She couldn’t hear but she spoke on subjects as diverse as they can get and she had been one of the most famous speakers in the world.

There are many other remarkable lives of deaf (or hard of hearing) people who became famous. Chuck Baird, who died recently in 2012, was a famous American performer and painter. Ferdinand Berthier was the first deaf person to have received the French Legion of Honor or an equivalent of the recognition in other countries. Ferdinand, who was a French intellectual, also founded the first deaf organization in the world. Laurent Clerc, despite being deaf, became the first deaf teacher for people who are deaf.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Conclusion …

The triumphant spirit and amazing acts of valor, hard work and dedication of the famous people who are / were deaf or hard of hearing (HOH) compels us to be convinced that impairments such as this are not insurmountable.