Harry Belafonte – Celebrity and Hearing Aid Wearer
Photo by: David Shankbone
Harry Belafonte is probably best known for singing the Banana Boat Song, better known as, “Day O.” It topped the Billboard charts at number one for 31 weeks. The song’s album was the first to sell over one million copies in 1956. But many probably don’t know that the actor, singer, producer and activist lives with hearing loss and wears hearing aids.
Besides introducing calypso music to America, Belafonte has stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and he has been a UNICEF ambassador.
Born to Caribbean immigrants in New York City, the award-winning actor studied his craft with stars like Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau and Rod Steiger. Belafonte found some of his first successes on Broadway and in film.
In the early years he won a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway production of John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. Belafonte also counts an Emmy and Grammys among the hardware he’s collected over the years. He also starred in popular films like Carmen Jones.
Belafonte has been among the many celebrity ambassadors for the Hear the World campaign. The campaign, which includes a star-studded calendar featuring photography by iconic Canadian rocker, Bryan Adams, aims to spread awareness about hearing loss.
The Hear the World Foundation envisions a world where everyone can experience good hearing, the stigma associated with wearing hearing aids is eliminated, hearing is protected and where hearing impaired people enjoy equal opportunities.
Belafonte echoes what many Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists probably try to drill into patients by saying, “Good Hearing is extremely important. I just think people should be very, very conscious and protective of their hearing.”
The actor says that when his hearing began to decline it affected him deeply. As a musician he feels, “The world of music in which I reside makes it critical that my hearing be unimpaired.”
If you would like to continue to hear the world as clearly as possible, hearing protection is key to maintaining good hearing health.