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Join us as we introduce ten famous deaf people, who serve as an inspiration to us all.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven: Famous Deaf Composer

Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1770. He developed progressive hearing loss in his late 20s, which eventually led to complete deafness. Even with these challenges, his love for music inspired him to create some of the most innovative compositions ever. 

Beethoven played a pivotal role in transitioning music from the Classical era to the Romantic era. His works are characterized by expressive melodies and innovation. Some of his most popular symphonies, include “Ode to Joy” and “Moonlight Sonata.”

Beethoven has made a massive impact on music. His unwavering commitment is a lesson that we can all learn from.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison: Famous Deaf Inventor

Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847. He lost his hearing at the age of 12. Despite being deaf, Edison is one of the most renowned inventors in history with over 1,000 patents to his name. 

He established the world’s first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He and his researchers developed numerous innovations including many contributions to the fields of sound recording, and motion pictures.

Edison is most famous for inventing the electric light bulb. His invention transformed daily life by extending the hours of productivity and leisure after the sun went down. 

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin: Deaf Actress

Actress Marlee Matlin was born in Morton Grove, Illinois, in 1965. Her deaf diagnosis came at the age of 18 months. Her win for Best Actress, at the Academy Awards, made her the first deaf performer to win an Oscar.

She serves as a role model and inspiration to countless individuals. Matlin consistently advocates for closed captioning, sign language interpretation, and other accommodations for the deaf community.

Becca Meyers

Becca Meyers: Deaf Olympian

Becca Meyers was born in the United States in 1995. She came into the world with Usher syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by hearing loss and progressive vision loss.

Refusing to let her disabilities define her, she began swimming competitively at a young age. She eventually found success on international stages including the Paralympic Games, Pan Pacific Championships, and World Championships. 

At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she won three gold medals and one silver medal.

In addition to her athletic achievements, Meyers is a passionate advocate for disability rights. She inspires others to pursue their dreams, making her an amazing role model for all of us.

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown is an Actress and producer, widely known for her role as Eleven in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Born in 2004, with partial hearing loss, Millie is now completely deaf in one ear.

Millie continues to garner nominations for various awards. She recently won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. 

Beyond her acting, she is an advocate for many social causes including mental health awareness and anti-bullying.

Guillaume Amontons

Guillaume Amontons was a French physicist and inventor born in 1663. He is renowned for his contributions to the field of thermodynamics and mechanics. He became mostly deaf at a young age and despite his hearing impairment, he made significant contributions to science. 

Guillaume conducted pioneering experiments that advanced our understanding of the principles of temperature measurement and the behavior of gasses. One of his biggest accomplishments was creating an early mercury thermometer that made temperature readings more accurate. 

He also invented the hot air engine, which preceded the well-known Stirling engine by more than a century. His work plays a crucial role in shaping modern physics and engineering. He continues to inspire scientists and researchers today.

Dr. Ernest Hairston

Dr. Ernest Hairston

Dr. Ernest Hairston, born in Virginia, is known for pioneering achievements in the deaf community.

He graduated from Gallaudet, becoming the first black deaf teacher at the State School for the Deaf in Raleigh, NC. Upon earning his Ph.D. in special education in 1994, he became the first black deaf person to achieve this milestone.

Johannes Thopas

Johannes Thopas

Johannes Thopas was a Dutch Golden Age painter born around 1626. People recognize him for his expertise in drawing portraits and miniatures. 

Even though Johannes could not hear or speak, he did not let it stop him from doing his work. He showed a deep understanding of how people express themselves. He became an expert at communicating on a universal level, impacting generations of artists and scholars.

Diksha Dagar

Diksha Dagar: Famous Deaf golfer

Diksha Dagar’s journey as a professional golfer is the epitome of triumph over adversity. Born in India with a hearing impairment, she faced limited access to resources because of her disability. 

Displaying a natural talent for golf at a young age, Dagar pursued her dream of becoming a professional golfer.

She achieved a significant career milestone by representing India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She became the first hearing-impaired Indian female golfer to compete in the Olympic games.

Diksha actively advocates for supportive measures to ensure equal opportunities in sports.

Konstantin Tsiolkosky

Konstantin Tsiolkosky: Deaf Scientist

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, “The Father of Rocketry,” was born in Russia in 1857. He dedicated his life to the study of astronautics, mathematics, and physics. His pioneering work on rocket propulsion and space travel heralded the development of the rocket equation. He laid the groundwork for the design and construction of rockets capable of reaching outer space. 

Tsiolksky lost his hearing at the age of 10 from scarlet fever. His legacy extends beyond space exploration. He was a strong advocate for education and public outreach. His work inspired scientists, engineers, and space enthusiasts alike.

More Information:

Countless famous people, identifying as deaf, have excelled in their own chosen paths regardless of losing their hearing.

These well-known deaf individuals are inspiring to hearing and non-hearing people. They continue to succeed and motivate others. They teach us important lessons through their actions.

For more information check out:

National Association of the Deaf

Free Helen Keller lesson plan

Free Human Ear lesson plan

Cochlear implants

Hearing aids

ASL videos

Deaf Education

Lip Reading

Deaf Culture