Happy Presidents Day from Hearing Professional Center!
Did you know that many presidents are linked with hearing loss or deafness?
Here are the top 10 presidential links to hearing loss:
- In 1864 Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law that turned Gallaudet into a collegiate institution. To this day, all diplomas from Gallaudet University are signed by the sitting U.S. president.
- Six presidents have worn or wear hearing aids to rehabilitate their hearing issues: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
- Ronald Reagan was famously fit with hearing aids while in office, and he was the first president to have done so.
- Bill Clinton began wearing hearing aids during his second term in office.
- Teddy Roosevelt lost the hearing in his left ear due to a procedure to remove an abscess from the area.
- George Washington was likely late-deafened due to high levels of noise exposure from gunfire while hunting and during wartime.
- James Garfield gave his last public speech at Gallaudet before being assassinated. This is also said to be one of the only social functions he attended outside of the White House during his short presidency.
- Each U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson met with Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, due to her political views and her work with many advocacy groups, as well as political organizations.
- Calvin Coolidge’s wife taught the deaf and knew some sign language. It is said that on occasion, the president and his wife would sign messages to each other during social events.
- The Clinton Foundation has been a major advocate in partnering with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to fit people all over the world with hearing technology. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is currently working to fit more than 1 million people with hearing aids over the next 10 years, and they are on track to exceed that number. Bill Clinton and members of the foundation have been on several trips to assist in this endeavor, as well as advocating for the cause in other ways.
If you ever feel that you are alone in your hearing difficulties, know that hearing loss is a far-reaching impairment, and unlike many of our forefathers who had to suffer in silence, you are not alone. We are here to help you in any way that we can.
Please call 214.363.HEAR with any questions.
Deafdigest (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2015; DeafDigest.net