Grayson Perry reveals eccentric bonnet 'acts as ear trumpet' as his hearing deteriorates

The Turner Prize-winner has a practical and stylish solution to his increasing deafness

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Eccentric potter Grayson Perry is nothing if not practical. The Turner Prize-winning artist who attends parties as his alter-ego Clare - a teddy-loving lady with a fondness for pretty dresses and oversized bonnets – says the hats actually help his poor hearing.

Perry, 54, whose hearing has been deteriorating since he was a child, says the funnel shaped hats “act as a sort of ear trumpet” to “direct the noise towards my ears”.

“I wear hearing aids too. I never used to, but it’s something I can’t avoid now. I struggled with my hearing at school but as I got older I noticed it getting worse,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“There’s nothing I can really do about it except continue wearing bonnets and hearing aids. At least the bonnets are pretty!”

The artist, who created a number of works including a vase inspired by former energy secretary Chris Huhne for Channel 4 series Grayson Perry: Who Are You? , says his poor hearing has an impact on social situations, but admits one advantage is that he can “turn things off completely and zone out.”

An exhibition featuring 14 new portraits by the artist for the Who Are You? series is currently on at the National Portrait Gallery until 12 March 2015.