Celebrity Facts 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?

Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
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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: Dec. at 84 (1847-1931)

Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States of America

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

Also Ranked

#39 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

#26 on The Most Influential People of All Time

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

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

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Marlee Matlin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 17 Famous Deaf People
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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: 52

Birthplace: Morton Grove, Illinois, United States of America

Profession: Film Producer, Actor

Also Ranked

#69 on The Best Actresses to Ever Win Oscars for Best Actress

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

#6 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
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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: Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

Birthplace: Bonn, Germany

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

Also Ranked

#18 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#49 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#39 on These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

#16 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: Metaweb (FB)/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: Dec. at 88 (1880-1968)

Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States of America

Profession: Pacifist, Lecturer, Author

Also Ranked

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

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

#13 on The Very Best Actress Performances, Ranked

#9 on The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

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