Another hearing-impaired star comes clean

NEW YORK–Whoopi Goldberg’s secret is out. Hiding behind those signature dreadlocks are a pair of small hearing aids. So reported The National Enquirer in a recent interview with the Oscar-winning actress (for Ghost) and co-host of The View, the popular weekday television talk show.

For those who follow the hearing industry, Whoopi’s hearing aids were no big surprise. At the 2011 Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala, held July 25 in St. Paul, MN, she was showing off her new hearing aids. Like many a celebrity at the gala, the multi-talented performer was wearing hearing aids personally fitted for her by Bill Austin, founder of the Starkey Foundation and of Starkey Laboratories, America’s largest hearing aid manufacturer.

At the 11th annual “So the World May Hear” gala, she presented an award to her friend, the actress Marlee Matlin, who is a long-time supporter of the Starkey Foundation. Matlin selected the foundation as her charity of choice on this year’s Celebrity Apprentice. She and her team raised the most for any charity in the show’s history.



In the Enquirer interview, Whoopi Goldberg praised the Starkey Hearing Foundation for providing hearing aids free to children around the world. Since becoming involved with the foundation, she has become an enthusiastic advocate for better hearing and is always cautioning people against abusing devices such as iPods that can lead to hearing loss.

Last month’s gala raised $7.2 million for the Starkey Foundation, the most ever. Featured performers included Reba McIntyre, Meat Loaf, and Miley Cyrus. The lineup of celebrity supporters in attendance included leading figures from film and television, sports, business, music, literature, and history.

Those honored, in addition to Marlee Matlin, included former President Bill Clinton, for the success of his Clinton Global Initiative; Doug Pitt, a photo-journalist known for his charity work; and Randall J. Hogan, CEO of Pentair, a global leader in the field of water and technical products, which has put its resources to work on behalf of people in need

Whoopi Goldberg with Bill Austin at "So the World May Hear" Gala

Since 2000, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has donated more than 500,000 hearing aids to people in need; its goal is to distribute over 1 million free hearing aids in this decade.