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David Eigenberg Opens Up About Wearing Hearing Aids Just Like His Character Herrmann
The beloved patriarch of Chicago Fire's Ladder 51 won't let hearing loss slow him down, and neither will the actor who plays him.
For David Eigenberg, art imitates life. The actor, who has played veteran firefighter Christopher Herrmann on all twelve seasons of NBC's Chicago Fire, deals with hearing loss and wears hearing aids. So the show's writers have found a creative — and heroic! — way to incorporate the devices into his character's journey. And it's a solution Eigenberg is grateful for.
David Eigenberg opens up about his hearing aids on Chicago Fire
In the first three episodes of Chicago Fire Season 12, Herrmann bravely takes an arsonist's package, containing a bomb, and runs it away from his crew. But he's close to the device when it goes off, and it severely damages his hearing. Eigenberg opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about how he made the request that led to this specific storyline.
"I need [hearing aids] in real life... I’ve been needing them for years. I’ve been wearing them, but then this year, I sent an e-mail to the writers and I was like, 'You know, I’m kind of at a point where really, I just can’t hear very well. I’ve abused my body and I’ve had enough concussions and done enough things in my life where my hearing is shot,'" he said.
"And they were kind enough to incorporate it, and I think it’s a wonderful thing in a lot of ways. Because a lot of people are using them now. It’s a very normal thing. You know, it has gotten me down sometimes, I don’t love it. But they’re a great instrument to help in life... So, I’m really glad that we’re using it."
What this means for Herrmann
Eigenberg is clear that he wants to stay on the show, but he recognizes that in real life, as on TV, there comes a point when a firefighter just physically has to retire. "They have one-eyed firefighters in Chicago, and they have firefighters with hearing loss and hearing aids, [but] at a certain point, if you can’t keep yourself safe and other people safe, you can’t do the job."
The same goes for actors. As Eigenberg said, "it’s real for me in this show, because [the show is] so physically demanding that there will be a time where — I hope the show goes on for a long, long time — and there’ll be a point where it’s like, 'Yeah, I guess I gotta pass the torch.'"
At the end of the day, Eigenberg is a huge fan of his show. "I love working on it. I could not ask for a better show. We get together with our crew and, I swear, almost every other day an actor will go, 'I could not ask for a better job.'"