Hearing Loss in Heroes: A Stealthy Superpower

by Lindsay Robinson, HIA Program Coordinator

March 16, 2022


Many of the most popular superheroes are the ones we can look up to and relate to – individuals who overcome challenges to create a better environment and way of life for their loved ones. Superheroes are not all alike, and several have physical disabilities that shape their story. These superheroes include Cyborg, who is equipped with super strong prosthetic limbs; Deadpool, who deals with physical deformities and chronic pain; and Professor X, who is paraplegic and fights evil with his focus and telepathy.


There is one character who has gained renewed popularity due to a recent Marvel Studios series on Disney+ and has been rated the most inspiring superhero with a disability: Hawkeye. In one miniseries from 1983, Clint Barton, or Hawkeye, lost most of his hearing when he battled villain Crossfire. Crossfire built ultra-sonic arrows to blast superheroes with noise and stun them. When getting too close to one of these arrows, Clint suffered noise-induced hearing loss – a hearing loss that could affect any of us when exposed to high volumes, even when not battling an evil villain! Clint continues to wear a hearing aid in the TV series and doesn’t disguise his reliance on hearing technology.


His use of hearing aids is a staple to his well-being while actively being the hero. Clint is able to converse with family and hear their support, and also share important information during fast-paced scenes with the show’s other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. Both Clint and Kate are already unlike many Marvel characters because they are both fully human and must pause to tend to physical concerns while facing challenging characters and environments. Maybe this is why Hawkeye’s popularity has taken off – because so many of us can relate to having to take a moment to care for ourselves before facing the next challenge. And, the millions of Americans who rely on hearing aids can understand why Hawkeye always wears his technology as a vital connection to his world and success.


You can be the superhero for yourself and your loved ones. If you’re noticing a hearing loss, don’t hesitate to get help – reach out to a local hearing care professional to ask questions and get a hearing test. It’s a quick and easy way to reconnect with your environment and stay on top of your game.


And, even if you’re not being exposed to super-sonic blasts, remember to protect your hearing when you are in a loud environment. Volumes of 115 decibels (the same volume as a football stadium or standing next to a leaf blower) can cause permanent hearing damage in only 30 seconds. In fact, extended or repeated exposure to noise over 85 decibels (similar to noise from a food blender, heavy traffic, or noisy restaurant) can cause hearing loss. Pack your earplugs to stop hearing loss in its tracks!

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