William Shatner lends his ears — and voice — to HearingLife


The ‘Star Trek’ star has spoken about his hearing disorder for more than a quarter-century.

Shatner has tinnitus.

NEW YORK: People tend to listen to William Shatner. 

Whether as a leading man on “Star Trek,” as a longtime spokesperson for Priceline or during his return from a trip to space aboard a Blue Origin capsule, Shatner captures attention. 

He has also spoken about his hearing disorder for more than 25 years. HearingLife, a hearing-care company, has partnered with Shatner, 91, to increase awareness of its hearing-assessment and hearing-aid services. 

“He has had a successful acting career. He has written many books. He has produced music,” said Michael Rainiero, senior director of brand and creative at HearingLife. “His voice is just iconic, and with all of that, we hope he will encourage people, especially the older generations, to take action, treat their hearing loss and help educate all Americans about the importance of caring for your hearing and getting hearing tests.”

More than a quarter of adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. have some difficulty with hearing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but only 14% of people in that population use hearing aids. 

HearingLife is part of Demant, a hearing healthcare company, and it operates nearly 700 hearing-care centers in 42 states. 

HearingLife offers a complimentary hearing assessment and 30-day trials of hearing aids.

“Our brand name is definitely unheard of, and that's why we need to get this brand awareness out there,” Rainiero said. 

Shatner has tinnitus, a disorder that causes a ringing or buzzing in one or both of a person’s ears and is often associated with hearing loss. For Shatner, the ringing started after an explosion on the set of a Star Trek movie. He and co-star Leonard Nimoy “both got this ringing in our ears, and it never really went away,” Shatner told the Baltimore Sun

During a campaign video, Shatner sits in a living room that also features a parrot, fish tank and fireplace. 

“As we get older our hearing declines, and whether it’s genetics or life experiences, you probably don’t hear as well as you used to,” Shatner says in the video. “Did you even notice the fireplace wasn’t crackling?”

He then snaps, and it begins to crackle. He asks whether people heard the fish tank and snaps again. Same thing with the parrot.

“With HearingLife, you can enjoy all of life’s beautiful sounds. Like your grandchild or loved one saying, ‘I love you,’ and you’re like…’What’d you say?’” Shatner says. “Don’t miss something like that.”

Creative firm the VIA Agency created the TV spot and Kaplow worked on PR; the rest of the campaign was handled internally by HearingLife, Rainiero said. The campaign, which launched this month, features 15-second, 30-second and 60-second TV advertisements on national broadcasts. It also includes paid and organic content on social media.

“We are tracking all [key performance indicators], including awareness, lead generation, the amount of appointments [for hearing tests] that we generate, [and], of course, ROI,” Rainiero said.

“It should be just as important to get a hearing test as your eye exam or going to your doctor for a physical,” he said. “William can hopefully utilize his platform and hopefully, influence and educate people about getting that hearing test.”

This story was updated on January 24 with additional information. 

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