Musicians carry a high risk of hearing loss. The power of cranked up amps, overdrive pedals, pumping bass, and screaming fans all add up. Without it though, touring and making music would definitely be worse off. In fact, tinnitus and hearing loss affect musicians more than anyone else. And yet, these issues are often downplayed or hidden for fear that they will interfere with one's career choice - but it doesn't have to be this way. With the right resources available in your community you can get help.
Do Some of Your Favorite Musicians Really Have Tinnitus?
Yes, if you're a musician with chronic ringing in your ears or similar symptoms, then it's not just you--you are certainly not alone! It turns out that many iconic musicians you grew up worshiping also cope with this condition on a daily basis. Now, while there is no cure available on this front, relief does exist—and those who struggle should know they're certainly not alone.
Reports suggest that between 30 and 50% Of Musicians Have Experienced Some Degree Of Tinnitus, and Hearing Loss in their career. This stat may be due in part to the higher rate of hearing loss amongst those who work with sound for prolonged periods of time at a frequency where they're exposed significantly to louder than what is considered safe (dB).
Did you know? These well-known musicians have all experienced hearing or tinnitus during their impressive careers. In this article we will explore why it happens and how to get help from people who know what they're talking about.
The iconic singer songwriter suffers from tinnitus after a highly successful and extensive career in the music industry. From folk music to blues rock, Bob Dylan has traversed many music genres and is one of the most high-profile names on the planet to be affected by ringing in the ears. This ringing in the ears is often a warning sign of hearing loss. In fact, it’s not surprising that Bob Dylan has some issues with his hearing after all those years spent performing on stage and recording albums for posterity. So for Bob, tinnitus probably feels like Mr Tambourine Man who just moved into his neighborhood for life.
The Black Sabbath frontman suffers from permanent tinnitus after spending decades surrounded by the noise of heavy metal. Ozzy performed at extremely high volumes without any protection which caused permanent damage including tinnitus and partial deafness. The pioneering voice of heavy metal has since been very vocal about spreading awareness of hearing loss among musicians.
Despite a fruitful career as one of the world's most recognisable voices, Barbra Streisand's tinnitus is not the result of being a musician. In fact, her tinnitus became evident when she was a child at the age of nine.
Suffering from both hearing loss and tinnitus, the former Cream guitarist's conditions are believed to be noise-induced. The influential Blues Rock guitarist was famous for proverbially turning his guitar tube amp up to eleven, meaning he wanted his music to be as loud as it could possibly get. Clapton now cites this as the reason why he's suffering hearing trouble. Despite the hearing loss and other ailments, Clapton still continues to tour around the world.
The former Genesis singer actually developed sudden deafness as a result of an infection in the year 2000. During the early 2010’s, this had developed into something more chronic and caused a temporary retirement. However, according to reports, Phil is not letting these ailments stop him from making music as he is planning on going solo.
The face of U2 suffers from tinnitus and even sings about hard of hearing in the song Staring at the Sun. The real irony is that his stage name originated from a hearing aid store in Dublin.
One of the most influential musicians in history, Sting has made a strong case for spreading awareness about hearing loss ever since he was diagnosed with tinnitus. Although he doesn't wear any hearing aids on personal account, Sting has also offered extensive support for the Hear the world campaign.
A study published by Hearing Education and awareness for Rockers revealed that about 60% of rockers who made it into the Rock n Roll hall of fame have suffered from varying degrees of hearing impairment. It turns out that Neil Young, an inductee and a legendary Canadian artist known for his genre-defying contribution to the music world is no exception. Today, it is widely believed that the more sombre Harvest Moon was released due to the onset of tinnitus.
The famous songwriter and The Who guitarist suffers from hearing loss and tinnitus, and it is believed that he is almost deaf. Townshend has been dealing with the consequences of his love for loud music and over time it’s taken a toll on him. As he got older, Townshend found different ways to manage these symptoms. Noticeably, Townshend decided to perform acoustically on the British band’s 1989 tour, using a glass partitioning for protection against loud sound.
The second member of The Who to appear on this list has been heavily impacted of late by noise-induced hearing loss. Having played 50 years of loud Rock n Roll with his band, Roger Daltrey is now urging fans to take care of their hearing by wearing ear plugs.
The lead singer of rock icons AC/DC took a little break from the band to give his ears a rest but states his hearing loss comes from car racing, not loud music. Brian managed to keep in touch with his bandmates as he sought treatment. He made his much-anticipated return on the band's 17th studio album.
One-quarter of the Beatles and the most private member is rumoured to have hearing issues. George Harrison, renowned for timeless guitar lead harmonies, first noticed that he had been losing high frequency hearing in the mid 1970's. He's believed to have gone nearly deaf by the time of retirement in 1998.
You may not recognise him without his makeup on, but the KISS frontman has had hearing problems since birth. Paul says that he overcame the challenges by taking small steps at a time. All the small triumphs he had along the way incentivised him to go even further.
The Coldplay star has suffered from tinnitus for well over a decade now. Even since he was diagnosed with tinnitus, Chris has been using special ear plugs to protect his hearing for years now, and it's helped him avoid further damage.
The former Oasis singer has claimed he suffers from tinnitus. Liam just like his lead guitarist brother Noel suffers from what he describes as a sound akin to whistling kettle in his ears. He attributed the condition to the Manchester band's extensive live music that spanned over 3 decades.
Ted Nugent has been a musician for over 50 years and he's only hearing out of his right ear. Also a gun enthusiast, Ted's hearing loss may have come from shooting rather than his music but he now wears earplugs at concerts.
The Fleetwood Mac drummer first noticed his hearing loss way back in 1989. After many years of touring and playing live music, Mick is now urging musicians to take action on hearing loss and rock out in a healthy and more responsible manner. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee teamed up with a hearing aid battery manufacturer to educate music fans about the importance of preventing or treating noise-induced hearing loss.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist details his hearing loss and tinnitus in his biography Scar Tissue, claiming the onset occurred after touring with Nirvana. After a night of concerts along with the group’s drummer, Chad Smith in 1993 they felt constant ringing in the ear. Anthony developed permanent hearing damage during that tour.
The Metallica drummer developed hearing loss and tinnitus early on in the band's rise to worldwide fame. The now 57 year old drummer once admitted to playing loud music without any protection over 35 years. Lars is believed to have developed Tinnitus during a tour in 1988.
How Can I Protect My Ears From Harmful Noise?
It's not just musicians who need to protect their ears from hearing loss. Many of us already work in excessively loud workplaces and attend concerts regularly. Due to daily exposure, a number of performers are already taking cautious steps when it comes down to playing a show, and that is with ear plugs . Ear plugs and hearing protection have become essential items to own.
Whether you attend gigs, work in construction, are hard of hearing or experience occupational noise or ringing in the ears, taking the appropriate steps can help you avoid the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Alternatively, earplugs help those with tinnitus manage loud environments.
Test For Hearing Loss
Take our free online hearing test to check the current state of your hearing.
Results will indicate if you should seek further action to prevent any further damage to your ability to hear. We recommend that you consult a healthcare professional or audiologist if you have any concerns. Our own audiologists are available to help with your hearing loss queries.