This list of famous deaf people is part of our series on famous people with disabilities. These 200+ successful deaf people include inventors, authors, entrepreneurs, models, musicians & more.

Note: This is a dynamic list, and I will keep adding to it! If I missed a famous deaf person, you’d like us to add, email heather@ongig.com.

Famous Deaf Actors and Actresses

This list of celebrities with hearing loss includes hearing impaired actresses, deaf movie stars, and famous deaf actors:

Deaf Actress List

famous deaf actress halle berry -- is halle berry deaf in one ear
Famous deaf actress Halle Berry speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. (image source: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)
  • Michelle Banks – deaf actress
  • Rhondee Beriault — deaf actress who also played Helen Keller
  • Halle Berry — deaf actress (her deafness is a result of domestic violence from an abusive former partner)
  • Millie Bobby Brown — deaf actress from Stranger Things
  • Linda Bove — famous deaf actress from Sesame Street
  • Deanne Bray — famous deaf actress
  • Amy Ecklund — one of the most famous people with cochlear implants
  • Phyllis Frelich — Tony award-winning deaf actress
  • Whoop Goldberg — actress and one of the most famous people with hearing aids
  • Holly Hunter — deaf actress with hearing loss in one ear
  • Jane Lynch — deaf actress, singer, and comedian
  • Marlee Matlin — only deaf actress and performer to have won an Academy Award
  • Kelly Monaco — deaf actress and TV personality
  • Millicent Simmonds — deaf actress
  • Jean St. Clair — deaf actress
  • Shoshannah Stern — deaf actress

Deaf Actors List

hearing impaired celebrities
Bruce Willis is one of the most well-known deaf celebrities. Willis is nearly deaf in one of his ears (image source: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Creative Commons)
  • Bernard Bragg — deaf actor and producer
  • Julian Peedle-Calloo — British actor, writer, director and TV presenter
  • Brian Duffy — deaf actor from Scotland
  • Gaius Lee DuPree – first deaf baby actor, at 9 months old, to work in a film
  • Daniel Durant — deaf actor and YouTuber
  • David Ellington — deaf TV personality and actor
  • Russell Harvard — deaf actor (his parents and his paternal grandmother are also deaf)
  • Lou Ferrigno — deaf actor best-known as The Hulk
  • Emilio Insolera — deaf actor and producer
  • Jonathan Kovacs — former child actor
  • Rob Lowe — deaf actor (completely deaf in his right ear from an infection as a baby)
  • Ace Mahbaz — deaf actor and writer
  • Chella Man — deaf actor, activist, and model
  • Leslie Nielsen — deaf actor from Canada
  • Terry Ruane — deaf actor and director
  • Joseph Sarpy — first known Black deaf actor & first to join the National Theatre of the Deaf
  • Michael Spady — deaf actor and Broadway star
  • Kiefer Sutherland – hearing-impaired actor (has issues hearing after playing so many roles with gun-shots and explosions)
  • Matthew Watkins — actor deaf in real life and on TV
  • Bruce Willis — actor with hearing loss in one ear

Famous Deaf Leaders, Professionals, and Activists

famous deaf professionals
Claudia Gordon — famous deaf leader and first deaf African-American attorney (image source: Wikimedia Public Domain)

These successful deaf individuals are activists, leaders, and professionals:

  • Dr. Shirley Allen — first deaf African-American Female with Ph.D.
  • Dr. Glenn B. Anderson — first deaf African-American with Ph.D.
  • Doug Alker — former chair of the British Deaf Association and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf
  • Kelby Brick — Director at Governor’s Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), State of Maryland
  • Kathleen L. Brockway — deaf activist, author, and historian
famous deaf celebrities who are politicians
Bill Clinton — one of the most famous deaf Americans as the 42nd President of the United States (image: U.S. Public Domain)
  • Bill Clinton — diagnosed with a high-frequency hearing loss while he was serving the second term as the President of the United States
  • Andrew Foster — Father of Deaf Education in Africa
  • Angeline Fuller Fischer — deaf activist and author
  • Claudia Gordon — first deaf Female African-American Lawyer
  • Dr. Ernest Hairston — deaf activist and author
  • Casar Jacobson — Disability rights and deaf activist
  • Aarron Loggins — deaf activist and actor
  • Nathie Marbury — first Black deaf woman to serve on the National Association of the Deaf board
  • Lawrence R. Newman — deaf activist, educator, and author
  • Sara Nović — deaf activist and author
  • Roger D. O’Kelly — first deaf African-American lawyer
  • Linwood Smith — deaf activist and author

Famous Deaf People in Sports

lance allred deaf
Lance Allred, deaf athlete from the NBA, speaking at TEDx Salt Lake City 2016 (image source: Collin Blair Wikimedia Creative Commons)
  • Lance Allred — famous NBA player and motivation speaker
  • James “Deaf” Burke – famous deaf boxer
  • Tamika Catchings — WNBA player
  • Derrick Coleman — NFL player
  • LeRoy Colombo — famous deaf lifeguard in the Guinness Book of World Records for saving 907 lives
  • Gertrude Ederle — the first woman to swim across the English Channel
  • Ashley Fiolek – deaf motocross racer sponsored by Redbull
  • Jeffrey “Jeff” Float — the only legally deaf athlete from the USA to win an Olympic gold medal
  • Eugene “Silent” Hairston — first deaf African American boxer
  • Kevin Hall — professional golfer
  • Dummy Hoy — the most accomplished deaf player in MLB history
  • David Michalowski — first deaf figure skater ever to compete nationally and internationally
  • Terence Parkin — deaf swimmer and Olympian
  • Curtis Pride — MLB player
  • Bonnie Sloan – first deaf football player in the National Football League
  • Kenny Walker — NFL player

Famous Deaf Celebrities who are Dancers and Performers

Fred Beam & Sunshine 2.0, a theater group at RIT’s National Institute for the Deaf, provides performances and activities for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults that highlight the fields of deaf culture, literacy, and STEM.

Here’s a list of famous deaf performers and deaf dancers:

  • Lexine Brooks — deaf dancer
  • Antoine Hunter — deaf performer and dancer
  • Zahna Simon — deaf Bay Area-based dancer
  • Heather Whitestone — dancer and first deaf Miss America titleholder
  • Annemarie Timling — deaf dancer
  • Samantha Figgins — famous deaf dancer
  • Antoine Hunter — deaf jazz dancer
  • Shaheem Sanchez — deaf dancer and Tik Tok star
  • Simone Botha Welgemoed — deaf dancer and former beauty queen
  • Emery Stalzer — deaf girl dancing sensation
  • Justin Perez — deaf visual performer
  • Fred Beam & Sunshine 2.0 — deaf performance group
  • The Dance Troupe at Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind — deaf performance group
  • Kassandra Wedel — dancer, actor, and choreographer

Famous Deaf Singers and Musicians

famous deaf musicians
Grimes — famous deaf singer performing at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City, June 2014 (image source: Wikimedia Creative Commons)
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven — deaf composer
  • Sean Forbes — deaf hip-hop artist
  • Grimes — musician and one of Canada’s most famous people with hearing loss
  • Darius McCall — calls himself the first deaf rapper
  • Johnnie Ray — hearing impaired pop singer
  • Signmark — deaf rap artist from Finland
  • Wawa Snipe — deaf entertainer and rapper who performed at the Super Bowl
  • Paul Stanley — famous rock musician and one of the biggest celebrities with hearing loss
  • James Lee Taylor III — deaf rapper from the Bronx, NY
  • Pete Townshend — deaf musician and rock artist
  • Will.i.am — rapper with tinnitus that will eventually lead to irreversible hearing loss

Famous Deaf Models & Designers

famous deaf model
Nyle DiMarco — famous deaf model and activist (image source: Wikimedia Creative Commons)
  • Nyle DiMarco — America’s Next Top Model season 22 winner (the second male winner and the first deaf winner)
  • Carola Insolera — International deaf model
  • Justin LeBlanc — deaf designer from Project Runway

Famous Deaf Comedians, Entertainers, and Filmmakers

famous deaf comedians
D.J. Demers — one of the most famous deaf comedians who is known as “The Hearing Aid Guy” (image source: www.djdemers.com)
  • Sean Berdy — deaf comedian and actor
  • Evon Black — deaf comedian and entertainer
  • Kamau Buchanan — deaf filmmaker
  • Kathy Buckley — deaf comedian and speaker
  • D.J. Demers — deaf comedian known as “the hearing aid guy”
  • Jessica Flores — deaf comedian and influencer
  • Vilma Jackson — deaf performance artist
  • CJ Jones — internationally known deaf comedian (born to deaf parents)
  • Gavin Lilley — deaf comedian
  • Eric Sykes — deaf comedian, actor, and film writer
  • Rydrea Walker — deaf filmmaker
  • Tom Willard — deaf comedian and performer

Famous Deaf Gamers

Danik Soudakoff is one of the most famous deaf gamers who’s also an activist for LGBTQ+ rights (image source: Morpheyes Studio — YouTube)

Here are some famous deaf gamers making history:

  • FaZe EwOk — one of the most famous deaf gamers
  • Danik Soudakoff — deaf gamer
  • DeafGamersTV — deaf gamer and streamer

Famous Deaf Writers

famous deaf writers helen keller
Hellen Keller — she is one of the most famous deaf writers in history (image source: U.S. Copyright Public Domain)

These great deaf Americans include deaf storytellers, writers, and educators:

  • Connie Briscoe — NY Times Bestselling deaf author
  • Rashida Abedi — deaf writer
  • Donalda Ammons — deaf author and educator
  • Ben Bahan — one of the most-known deaf storytellers and writer of deaf culture
  • Edmund Booth — deaf author and journalist
  • Patricia Carlon — deaf writer
  • Matt Daigle — creator of “That Deaf Guy” comic along with his wife Kay Daigle
that deaf guy comic strips creators
“As a deaf and hearing couple we realized our unique experience whether at home or in public, was perfect fodder for a comic strip. When we met Lynn Johnston of famed “For Better or For Worse” and Mike Peters of “Mother Goose and Grimm” at a comic convention they encouraged us to create a comic strip based on our lives and that was the inspiration for ‘That Deaf Guy’.” (source: thatdeafguy.com)
  • Teresa Deevy — deaf short story writer and playwright
  • Pierre Desloges — known as the writer of the first book published by a deaf person
  • Julia Lester Dillon — architecture designer and author
  • Arthur Dimmock — deaf journalist and author
  • Michael Eury — deaf comic book writer
  • Donald Harington — deaf writer and teacher
  • Lars Havstad — deaf writer, editor, and activist
  • Helen Keller — deaf and blind author
  • Ella Mae Lentz — famous deaf poet and author
  • J. Schuyler Long — deaf author and educator
  • Harold MacGrath — deaf author who kept his deafness from his readers
  • Dale Morgan — editor and critic
  • Carol Padden — deaf author and educator
  • Yvonne Pitrois — deaf woman writer
  • Rose Pizzo — deaf author
  • Edith G. Stedman — deaf author and educator
  • Samuel James Supalla — deaf author
  • Ted Supalla — deaf author
  • Teresa de Cartagena — deaf writer
  • Heinrich von Treitschke — deaf political writer and historian
  • Julius Wiggins — deaf author
  • Mary Herring Wright — deaf writer and contributor to Black American Sign Language

Famous Deaf Artists

Famous deaf artist Chuck Baird (image source: Deaf Art)

Here are some of the most famous deaf artists in history:

  • Martin Aitchison — deaf illustrator
  • Asphyxia — deaf artist, writer, and activist
  • Chuck Baird — deaf artist
  • John Brewster Jr. — deaf painter
  • Leonard Leslie Brooke — deaf artist and writer
  • James Charles Castle — deaf artist and illustrator
  • Paul-François Choppin — deaf sculptor
  • Willy Conley — deaf photographer, playwright, and actor
  • Mary Electa Allen — deaf photographer
  • Regina Olson Hughes — deaf illustrator
  • Denis Juneau — deaf painter
  • Anton Kaulbach — deaf painter
  • Christine Sun Kim — deaf artist of sound
  • Elisabeth MacIntyre — deaf illustrator and author
  • Niall McCormack — deaf artist
  • William Frederick Mitchell — deaf painter
  • Hippolyte Montillie — deaf sculptor
  • Kate Mosher — wood sculpting artist
  • Shawn Richardson — deaf artist and sign language cartoonist
  • Judith Scott — deaf sculptor
  • Charles Shirreff — deaf painter
  • Louise Stern – deaf artist and writer on the topic of sign language
  • Alfred Thomson — deaf artist and Olympic medalist
  • Vincent Van Gogh — famous painter known to have tinnitus that impaired his hearing and intolerance of loud noises
  • Dorothy Stanton Wise — deaf sculptor

Famous Deaf Inventors, Scientists, and Doctors

famous deaf inventors
Thomas Edison — one of the most famous deaf inventors. Edison was totally deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other but thought of his deafness as a blessing in many ways. (image source: U.S. Library of Congress, Wikimedia Creative Commons)

These deaf scientists, doctors, and famous deaf inventors helped change the world:

  • Robert Grant Aitken – deaf Astronomer
  • Guillaume Amontons – deaf Physicist who studied absolute temperature
  • Donald L. Ballantyne — first deaf Professor of Experimental Surgery
  • Lewis H. Babbitt — American herpetologist and educator
  • Frederick A.P. Barnard — deaf scientist and astronomer
  • Ruth Fulton Benedict — tribal anthropologist
  • Charles Bonnet — one of the founding fathers of modern biology
  • Annie Jump Cannon — deaf astronomer who classified 1/3 of a million stars
  • Harold J. Conn — bacteriologist
  • Sir John Warchup Cornforth — chemist and noble prize winner
  • Tilly Edinger — founder of paleoneurology
  • Thomas Edison – deaf scientist who invented the light bulb but found his deafness as a blessing
  • Anders Gustaf Ekeberg — deaf chemist who discovered tantalum (metal) in 1802
  • Fielding Bradford Meek — deaf geologist
  • Nansie Sharpless — deaf Biochemist
  • Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky– deaf inventor know as the Father of Astronautics

Famous Deaf Black People

In researching this article, I noticed a tremendous amount of people asking about “famous deaf black people”. You might have seen these famous deaf Black people in the lists above, but because they are such a success, despite struggles they may have faced in life, I put them into one list here to celebrate them again:

  • Dr. Shirley Allen — first deaf African-American Female with Ph.D.
  • Dr. Glenn B. Anderson — first deaf African-American with Ph.D.
  • Michelle Banks — deaf actress
  • Evon Black — comedian and entertainer
  • Connie Briscoe — NY Times Bestselling deaf author
  • Ann Marie “Jade” Bryan — deaf filmmaker
  • Kamau Buchanan — deaf filmmaker
  • Tamika Catchings — WNBA player
  • Derrick Coleman — NFL player
  • Andrew Foster — Father of Deaf Education in Africa
  • Whoopi Goldberg — hearing loss affected actress
famous black deaf people whoopi goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg — actress and one of the most famous people with hearing aids (image source: Wikimedia Creative Commons)
  • Claudia Gordon — first deaf Female African-American Lawyer
  • Dr. Ernest Hairston — deaf activist and author
  • Eugene “Silent” Hairston — first deaf African American boxer
  • Kevin Hall — professional golfer
  • Antoine Hunter — deaf performer and dancer
  • CJ Jones — internationally known deaf comedian
  • Aarron Loggins — deaf activist and actor
  • Nathie Marbury — first Black deaf woman to serve on the National Association of the Deaf board
  • Darius McCall — calls himself the first deaf rapper
  • Roger D. O’Kelly — first deaf African-American lawyer
  • Curtis Pride — MLB player
  • Shawn Richardson — deaf artist and sign language cartoonist
  • Joseph Sarpy — first known Black deaf actor & first to join the National Theatre of the Deaf
  • Linwood Smith — deaf activist and author
  • Wawa Snipe — deaf entertainer and rapper who performed at the Super Bowl
  • Michael Spady — deaf actor and Broadway star
  • Kenny Walker — NFL player
  • Mary Herring Wright — deaf writer and contributor to Black American Sign Language

More Deaf Famous People?

I know this list is missing some successful deaf individuals. If you have any to share that I missed, email Heather@Ongig.com. You might also like one of our recent posts on 100+ Famous Blind People [A List of Actors, Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Writers, Musicians, & More!].

Why I Wrote This?

Ongig’s mission is to eliminate boring and biased job descriptions. Part of that mission is sharing best practices on everything diversity-related. Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps you avoid words that exclude famous (or non-famous) people with disabilities like hearing impairments. Please visit Ongig if you’d like to learn more.

Shout-Outs:

  1. Famous Deaf People: 17 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Actors (by AI Media)
  2. Black “Deaf” History Month (by National Black Deaf Advocates)
  3. What it’s like to be a deaf model on international runways and shoots (by Jemima Lewin)
  4. Famous and Historic Deaf (and Hearing) People (by Jamie Berke)
  5. Deaf Artists (by Wikipedia)
  6. These deaf & hard of hearing comedians are using humour to create awareness about Deaf culture (by Newz Hook)
  7. EwOk, the World’s Most Famous Deaf Professional Gamer (by Emilio Ferrerio)
  8. Deaf gamer Danik Soudakoff talks streaming, signing and never giving up (by Aatish Patel)
  9. 4 Deaf Performers (by Cennarium)
  10. Famous Deaf Scientists (by Deaf Digest)
  11. Deaf Writers (by Wikipedia)
  12. Not Your Average Dancer: Meet the Deaf Dancer Defying Stereotypes (by Katherine Beard)
  13. Dancing While Deaf: What It’s Like to Move to Music You Can’t Hear (by Rebecca J. Ritzel)
  14. Famous Deaf People (by Start ASL)
  15. Stars with Hearing Loss: 10 Celebrities Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (by Kelly Mahoney)
  16. 8 Famous Deaf People Who Changed the World (by Deaf Unity)
  17. 5 Famous Deaf People who Changed the World (by terptree UK)
  18. That Deaf Guy (by Matt & Kay Daigle)

by in Diversity and Inclusion

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