Famous People With Tinnitus
One of the most common hearing problems experienced by celebrities is tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the perception of noise in the ear in the absence of an external source of the noise. Tinnitus affects people of different ages, and several factors can cause it.
Common causes of tinnitus are earwax blockage, aging, constant or sudden exposure to loud noise, autoimmune inner ear diseases, head trauma or injuries, ear infections, etc.
Depending on the cause, tinnitus can be permanent or temporary.
Temporary tinnitus is often caused by a temporary hearing problem that can be easily rectified, while permanent tinnitus is often caused by permanent damage to the ears.
Tinnitus can be mild or severe. Depending on the severity, tinnitus patients may be able to function properly without much interference, or they may experience severe difficulties in going about their daily activities.
In this post, we will be identifying some famous people with tinnitus. Most of these people either have mild tinnitus or have learned to live with their tinnitus. This is probably why you didn't know they had any problems with their hearing.
Micheal Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, popularly known as Sylvester Stallone is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, and director born in Manhattan New York City, on July 6th, 1946.
When Stallone's mother was about to give birth to him, she suffered some complications during labor. This made the obstetrician use two pairs of forceps to aid his birth. Unfortunately, the forceps damaged one of his nerves, and this resulted in paralysis on the lower left side of his face (parts of his tongue, chin, and lip). The effect of the paralysis gave him slurred speech and a snarling look.
The paralysis of his face’s left side could not hamper his success, and he has grown to be one of the greatest actors of all time.
Aside from the paralysis of his face, Stallone also suffers tinnitus.
This is, however, not surprising because of the types of activities he engages in, in his movies. Stallones' roles as a super soldier, fighter, or boxer in his movies could have contributed to the tinnitus.
One of the major causes of tinnitus is trauma to the head or head injury. Actors who engage in action movies with lots of violence have had to receive some really hard punches on their heads. Stallone seems to have received many of such blows.
Aside from having tinnitus in real life, in the 1997 crime movie Cop Land, Stallone played a sheriff’s role suffering from tinnitus and hearing loss.
2. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Charles Reeves is a Canadian actor born in Beirut on the 2nd of September 1964 and raised in Toronto.
Reeves has starred in many movies, including Youngblood (1986), Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Point Break (1991), The Matrix (1999-2021), Constantine (2005), John Wick (2014-2022), etc.
Keanu Reeves also suffers from tinnitus but his tinnitus is only in his left ear. Tinnitus can affect one or both ears. Tinnitus in one ear is often more bearable than tinnitus in both ears. Luckily for Reeves, his tinnitus is only in his left ear.
Reeves has also stated in interviews that his tinnitus doesn't bother him anymore. While this doesn't mean that the tinnitus has disappeared, it means that the noise in his ear is not too distracting, and he has learned to ignore it. He can go about his normal activities without any interference from the tinnitus.
3. Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States of America from 1981 to 1989. Before he became the president, he was the first 33rd governor of California and also a Hollywood actor.
Even though Ronald Reagan is no longer alive, we decided to add him to this list because of his role in encouraging widespread public acceptance of hearing aids.
Reagan suffered tinnitus. While the exact cause of his tinnitus was unknown, many attributed it to a blank pistol fired too close to his ears when he was on the set of a movie before becoming the United States president.
Reagan is the first American president to wear hearing aids in the office. Which spread awareness and acceptance of hearing aids amongst the general public.
Reagan had Alzheimer’s disease in the last ten years of his life and died of Alzheimer-related pneumonia on June 5th, 2004.
4. Steve Martin
Stephen Glenn Martin is an American actor, writer, playwright, comedian, musician, and producer born on August 14th, 1945.
In 2004, Steve Martin was ranked sixth in the list of the one hundred great stand-up comics by Comedy Central. He has also received 5 Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the Kennedy Center Honours, and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor.
Steve has had tinnitus since the year 1986. He developed tinnitus while filming for the movie " The Three Amigos.” The tinnitus was caused by sudden exposure to loud noise from an on-screen pistol shoot-off scene.
Steve Martin seems to have gotten used to the tinnitus noise because there is no proof that it has any visible effects on his life. On occasions when he was asked about tinnitus and his experience with it, he responded that it's something you get used to.
5. Barbra Streisand
Barbara Joan Streisand is an American singer, filmmaker, and actress born on the 24th of April 1942. She has gained tremendous success in multiple entertainment fields and had the rare opportunity to be awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.
In 1985, Streisand revealed that she had been suffering with tinnitus since she was just nine years old. She doesn't know the exact cause of the tinnitus; according to her, it suddenly started one day while she was sitting in the classroom at school, and the ringing hasn't stopped since then.
In a bid to block out the tinnitus noise as a child, Streisand said that she constantly wrapped scarves around her head.
Streisand said she waited years before seeing an audiologist because she was afraid to find out what it was.
With the right diagnosis, however, she has managed the tinnitus and reached the peak of her career without any hindrance from the tinnitus.
She has, however, attributed her short temper to the irritation caused by the tinnitus. This is not far-fetched because tinnitus noise can cause irritation and anger.
6. William Shatner
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, director, producer, singer, screenwriter, and author born on March 22, 1931.
Shatner is popularly known as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek. He has co-written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar and several novel sets in the Star Trek Universe.
Shatner developed tinnitus during the filming of Star Trek. A special effects explosion caused the tinnitus. Shatner was standing too close to the explosion when it happened. He describes the tinnitus as a loud screeching sound in his head.
Shatner tried on his own to live with the tinnitus without much success for years until he finally sought the help of an audiologist.
With the help of an audiologist, he has been able to manage tinnitus. He has also learned to suppress and ignore the tinnitus noise by retraining his brain to treat the tinnitus as background noise by listening to calming and soothing sounds, reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, and exercising.
Aside from having tinnitus, Shatner is a vocal member of the American Tinnitus Association.
7. Whoopi Goldberg
Caryn Elaine Johnson professionally known as Whoopi Goldberg, is an American actress, author, comedian, and television personality born on November 13, 1955.
Goldberg is one of the few entertainers to have won an Emmy award, Grammy award, an Academy Award, and a Tony award.
Goldberg suffers both hearing loss and tinnitus, and she wears hearing aids in both ears.
She is very vocal about her hearing problems, and she believes it is the cumulative effect of all the years she exposed her ears to loud music.
8. Halle Berry
Halle Maria Berry is an American actress born on the 14th of August 1966. She started as a model and came sixth in Miss World 1986 and the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in 1986.
She has featured in films like Cloud Atlas (2012), some of the X-Men series (2000-2014), Die Another Day (2002), The Flintstones Film (1994) , and many more.
She is the first black woman to win the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar and has also won a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
Berry lost eighty percent of her hearing ability in her left ear after suffering a blow to the head during a domestic violence incident with her boyfriend.
This happened in 1991 when she was filming the movie "The Last Boy Scout.” The beating punctured her eardrum and now she has reduced hearing in her left ear. Although Berry refused to name who her abuser was, she has stated that he is a well-known person in Hollywood.
Aside from being an award-winning actress, Berry is one of the biggest advocates for domestic violence awareness in Hollywood.
9. Liza Minnelli
Liza May Minnelli is an American actress, singer, and dancer born on March 12, 1946. She is the daughter of both director Vincente Minnelli, and the actress and singer Judy Garland
Liza is popularly known for her award-winning performance in Cabaret in 1972. Unfortunately, her performance in Cabaret is responsible for her tinnitus.
She developed tinnitus during the Academy Awards in 1973. She was seated next to her father at the Awards when she was announced as the winner for the best actress’s award (for her role in Cabaret); her father got so excited that he screamed.
The scream may not have caused any damage to her ears if it was directed elsewhere, but he turned towards her out of excitement and yelled directly into her right ear. As you already know, sudden exposure to loud noise can cause tinnitus, and that's exactly what happened to Liza. She has lived with tinnitus ever since.
10. Joseph Mawle
Joseph Daniel Turner Mawle is an English actor born on the 21st of March 1974. He is popularly known as Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones.
Mawle has had tinnitus since he was sixteen years old. He developed it after he suffered labyrinthitis. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder caused by the inflammation of the inner ear or the nerves that connect the inner ear to the brain. An infection often causes this inflammation.
Despite having tinnitus, these famous people have gone on to excel in their careers. This is proof that it is possible to live a normal life even after being diagnosed with tinnitus.
All you need to do is seek the help of a medical professional (or more specifically, an audiologist and/or an ENT specialist) who will guide you on how to ignore or train your brain to adapt to the noise.
Whether or not you have been diagnosed with tinnitus, ensure you protect your ears from exposure to loud noise. Also, ensure that you report any hearing difficulties to your doctor.
Do you know any other famous person with tinnitus that is not included in this list? Feel free to list their names in the comment section.