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Leslie Nielsen: Funny Guy and Hearing Health Advocate

Leslie Nielsen passed away recently. Most of us know him for his comedic roles in which he mixed dead-pan, perfectly-timed humor with broad, physical comedy, putting Nielsen in the company of Peter Sellers and Charlie Chaplin.

Nielsen’s humor will certainly be missed, but his legacy is available for download. Check out Airplane! and The Naked Gun series. If you haven’t seen them you’ll LOL, and if you have seen them you’ll laugh out loud all over again. They never fail.

Earlier in his career, which took off like a rocket with the ‘50s sci-fi flick, Forbidden Planet, Nielsen was cast in leading-man roles and often, as the bad guy. He could do it all. What most folks don’t know is that Leslie Nielsen did all of this in spite of sensorineural hearing loss, a common type of hearing loss many people experience.

However, through the use of hearing aids, this talented dramatic actor and comedian spent 40 years on movie and TV screens playing a number of roles, from the doomed captain in The Poseidon Adventure to the love interest of a young Debbie Reynolds in the classic Tammy and the Bachelor – another flick worthy of a download. But one of his most important roles wasn’t as an actor.

Leslie NielsonLeslie Nielsen was a dedicated advocate of hearing health. He made numerous media appearances on behalf of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). His mission was to educate people on aspects of hearing loss and the impact it has on quality of life. He was a strong advocate for improving life through the use of hearing aid technology and his public speaking on behalf of hearing health will be remembered with great appreciation.

Not only did Leslie Nielsen speak on behalf of better hearing, he was a popular, crowd-pleasing celebrity participant in the Better Hearing Institute’s “Help America Hear” golf tournament, delighting all who saw him playing a round of 18 for better hearing.

In an interview a few years back, a reporter asked Nielsen what his next project would be. The actor replied, "I have no goals or ambitions. I do, however wish to work enough to maintain whatever celebrity status I have so that they will continue to invite me to golf tournaments.”

He was a funny guy and an effective advocate for hearing health. Check any of his movies, and consider having your ears checked for hearing loss at your local hearing center. It only takes a few minutes and it doesn’t even hurt.

Surely you can take a few minutes out of your day for a hearing test. “Don’t call me Shirley.”

Yeah, he was a very funny guy.

About The Better Hearing Institute

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is a not-for-profit corporation that educates the public about the neglected problem of hearing loss and what can be done about it. Founded in 1973, BHI:

  • erases the stigma and ends the embarrassment that prevents millions of people from seeking help for hearing loss.
  • educates consumers about the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss for millions of Americans.
  • promotes treatment and advocates for solutions to the widespread, national problem of untreated hearing loss.

Through public education, BHI provides learning materials, research studies, a call center for hearing aid consumers and users, and an outreach program for hearing professionals, including a popular, consumer-oriented blog that provides the advice you need before and after the purchase of hearing aids.

Leslie Nielsen was one of many celebrities who support BHI through public service announcements, speaking engagements and through on-going support of better hearing initiatives and a better quality of life.

The world of hearing health lost a friend. Time to rent Naked Gun. Who couldn’t use a good laugh?

And that’s what Leslie Nielsen did. He made us laugh.

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