celebrities 17 Famous Deaf People  

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List of famous deaf people, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Deafness is a condition which causes an individual to lose their hearing. It can be caused by exposure to noise, illness, or physical trauma. There are new technologies that have allowed deaf people to be able to hear, but they are still considered controversial in the deaf community.

Who is the most famous deaf person? Helen Keller tops our list. Helen Keller was born with sight and hearing, but when she was 19 months old she contracted a terrible illness that left her blind and deaf. Anne Sullivan taught Keller to communicate and the two remained close friends and colleagues until Sullivan's death in 1936. Helen Keller became a renowned speaker and author and a pioneer for deaf rights.

Several actors and actresses are also deaf. Movi star Marlee Matlin became deaf when she was just 18 months old. She won an Academy Award for her performance in Children of a Lesser God. Deaf actress Phyllis Frelich won a Tony award for her performance in the on stage version of Children of a Lesser God. Other famous deaf people include Thomas Edison, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Curtis Pride.

Do you think that being deaf made it difficult for these celebrity men and women to break-in to their careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Thomas Edison had severe hearing problems due to having scarlet fever when he was young. He often referred to himself as deaf, and he believed that his loss of hearing helped him to be a better scientist.

Age: Died at 84 (1847-1931)

Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States of America

Profession: Businessperson, Entrepreneur, Film Producer, Inventor, Scientist, + more

Credits: Frankenstein, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Mr. Mike's Mondo Video, Electrocuting an Elephant

Also Ranked

#29 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#31 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

#26 on The Most Influential People of All Time

#83 on Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

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Marlee Matlin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License
Marlee Matlin became deaf when she was just 18 months old. She won an Academy Award for her performance in Children of a Lesser God.

Age: 51

Birthplace: Morton Grove, Illinois, United States of America

Profession: Film Producer, Actor

Credits: Children of a Lesser God, What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?, Reasonable Doubts, The One I Love

Also Ranked

#84 on Oscar Winning Performances from the Past 50 Years, Ranked

#5 on The Best Actors Who Won Oscars for Their First Movie

#30 on The Best Actresses Who Won Oscars and Globes for the Same Role

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Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Ludwig van Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was 26 years old.  By the time he was 44, he was almost completely deaf.

Age: Died at 57 (1770-1827)

Birthplace: Bonn, Germany

Profession: Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, Lyricist, Composer, + more

Credits: Django Unchained, A Clockwork Orange, The King's Speech, The Pianist

Also Ranked

#20 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#36 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#38 on The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece

#18 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

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Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Helen Keller was born with sight and hearing, but when she was 19 months old, she contracted a terrible illness that left her blind and deaf.

Age: Died at 88 (1880-1968)

Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States of America

Profession: Pacifist, Lecturer, Author

Credits: The Miracle Worker, Deliverance, The Unconquered, Adventures from the Book of Virtues

Also Ranked

#14 on The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

#23 on The Most Powerful Women In The World

#42 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#85 on Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

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