The Greats of Hearing Loss: Winston Churchill

by Lindsay B. Robinson, HIA Program Coordinator

April 10, 2024


We all know the name Winston Churchill. A larger-than-life man with a serious mug probably comes to mind as soon as you hear the name. Many can place Churchill as Prime Minister in the United Kingdom during a pivotal wartime in the 1940s and again in the 1950s. However, what most do not know is that Churchill coped with hearing loss through some of the most significant discussions and decisions during the 20th Century.


Like so many today, Churchill did not initially act on his hearing loss. His personal physician, Lord Charles Moran, M.D., stated in his diary at the end of 1944 that Churchill was struggling to hear on the phone. By 1950 and with signs of worsening hearing health, Churchill consulted with an ear, nose, and throat doctor where it was determined that a high-frequency hearing loss was present (a difficulty understanding higher pitched noises or consonants like ‘s’ ‘h’ and ‘f’).


Two years later and with reluctance, Churchill was fitted with his first hearing aid. He did not wear it often and although there are no direct recordings of his sentiment toward the device, we can theorize that the size of the older style technology may have been distracting and caused discomfort and embarrassment. By 1955 however, Churchill’s untreated hearing loss made a significant impact on the outspoken and colorful personality, as noted by Lord Moran in 1955.




The hearing aid was only worn with regularity once Churchill’s hearing loss impacted his ability to understand – and quickly respond to – debates in parliament. In the spring of 1953, a letter from Churchill’s office was sent to the Ministry of Works to approve the installation of an induction system within the House of Commons. This induction loop (otherwise known as a telecoil) was placed under the carpet around the Prime Minister’s chair and channeled noise from parliament’s amplification system directly into Churchill’s hearing aid, increasing the volume and clarity of voices. This technology is still used today in public areas such as banks, train stations, and theaters. Churchill reported to be very pleased during the testing of this loop system. Throughout the later portion of his Prime Ministry and onward to his final career chapter as Member of Parliament, Churchill relied on his hearing aid for discussions and debates with colleagues.


Luckily since the 1950s, hearing technology has drastically transformed in appearance and capabilities. While Churchill’s hearing aid may have taken up significant space on his head, modern hearing aids are so discreet that they are barely visible. Today’s hearing aids come in a variety of styles and offer features that fit the unique hearing and lifestyle needs of the wearer. Some features include background noise reduction, artificial intelligence that identifies and adds clarity to speech or audio, and Bluetooth technology that streams calls and music from your smartphone directly to your hearing aids. Hearing aids can now be personalized and provide clarity on the sounds that are most important to the wearer.


If, like Churchill, you are hesitating to get treatment due to feeling like your hearing is ‘good enough’ or feeling self-conscious about wearing technology, just remember how much hearing loss can impact your overall health, wellbeing, and ability to connect with others. Speak with a hearing care professional and get your hearing tested, even if you think your hearing is just ok. There are options for many style preferences and lifestyle needs.



Winston Churchill’s hearing loss, The National Archives, November 30, 2022.
Moran, Lord. Churchill Taken from the Diaries of Lord Moran. Norman S. Berg Publisher, Limited, 1976.
Churchill’s Hearing Loss, Hearing Health & Technology Matters, February 24, 2014.,of%20laughter%2C%20someone%20will%20explain
Churchill’s Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Journal, January 6, 2022.
Revealing Churchill’s Hearing Loss, The Hearing Clinic U.K., February 15, 2023. 


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