Incredible advancements in the fields of medicine and technology made it possible to diagnose, treat and live with a variety of hearing conditions. This fact makes us feel grateful and curious about the question, “What was it like for people with hearing loss before the invention of today’s hearing aids and devices?”
It might not come as a surprise, but many famous historical figures even lived under these kinds of conditions. They did not let these come in their way, though, as each of them made a name of their own with marvellous achievements in their respective fields.
Ludwig van Beethoven
A revered master of music, Beethoven proved that the irony of music and hearing could not stop his determination and undisputed talent in the art. He was not born deaf and had to endure the harrowing experience of slowly losing his hearing. However, if there was one thing he was born with, it was his effortless grasp of music theory, easily making him one of the best composers that ever lived.
Made blind and deaf by severe typhus fever, Julia Brace enrolled at the Hartford Asylum or the American School for the Deaf. She became known as a kind nurse who preferred to communicate with sign language despite her fluency in the English language.
One of the most famous names in science, Thomas Edison also lived with a poor hearing condition throughout his life. Edison found good humour in his situation, though, as he joked about concentrating better by ignoring conversations he could not hear. It was also believed that he proposed to his wife, who was also almost deaf, through a telegraph machine.
Many people seem to forget that his gradual hearing loss and isolation influenced well-known Spanish painter Francisco Goya’s vibrant career. He became deaf after being afflicted with a mysterious disease, was caught in a bloody war in his country and eventually fell to cynicism and depression. His collection of remarkable artworks included a series of dark-themed paintings that he hung on his walls.
One can’t claim to make a list of famous deaf individuals without including Helen Keller in it. Helen was both blind and deaf, but she was clear about speaking out about injustices she witnessed in her time. She was known as a conscientious labour and women rights advocate, political activist and anti-war figure.
Juliette Gordon Low
Inspired by the skills and knowledge imparted by the Girl Guides Association, Juliette was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Despite living with a disability, she was able to spread troops throughout England, Georgia, Savannah and Scotland. Today, many young women are benefitting and growing in the community Juliette established.
Like millions of other people with a hearing disability, the individuals above faced hardships and worked to overcome them. They comprise a tiny percentage of famous people with hearing loss, and others like them are probably excelling in their professions as well. They are scientists, musicians, artists, teachers and activists who we can expect to add to the long list of amazing people with disabilities.
If you need professional hearing services from experienced clinicians, contact CH Care. We are an independent, locally owned and operated business that specialises in hearing assessments and hearing aid fitting and maintenance. Book an appointment with us today.