Presidential Hearing: From George Washington to George Bush

October 17, 2018 • Fall 2018, Newsletter

US Presidents

Many American presidents have dealt with hearing loss, including several who dealt with hearing loss before help was available.

The father of our country, George Washington, was known to have difficulty understanding conversation after his military service. Thomas Jefferson complained about his own hearing. He wrote that he could hear in solitary conversation, but his hearing was “confused when several voices cross each other, which makes me unfit for society at the table.” Even presidents have difficulty in noisy restaurants.

Herbert Hoover was the first president to use hearing aids. Former president Ronald Reagan brought attention to the problems of hearing loss. When he talked about his hearing aids, the media attention motivated many people to get help.

Bill Clinton started using hearing aids while in office. He attributed some of his hearing loss to playing in rock bands when he was young.

Many former presidents started using hearing aids after their time in office. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush all used hearing aids for help with their hearing loss.

Other presidents without hearing loss have nevertheless played important roles. Abraham Lincoln signed the federal bill establishing Galludet (now Galludet University), a college for the deaf and hard of hearing. Today it’s the only college in the world that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in an American Sign Language environment.

George W. Bush volunteers his time to community outreach programs for people with hearing loss. His father, George H.W. Bush, signed the American with Disabilities Act into law, which resulted in more captioning services for phones and television, and more assistive listening devices in public settings.

© 2018 Hearing Healthcare News

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