Learn about 7 famous musicians who suffer from tinnitus, a hearing sensation that causes a constant ringing and buzzing in your ears:

The relationship between tinnitus and music

Tinnitus is a phantom sensation of sound such as ringing or hissing in the ears without any external sound stimulus. Tinnitus varies considerably in intensity and type, and it is estimated that up to 5% of the world’s population suffers from them.

There are different causes, such as infections in the middle ear, Ménière’s disease or high doses of ototoxic drugs, but exposure to noise and high-intensity sounds is one of the main ones. It is therefore not surprising that tinnitus affects a large number of musicians who are exposed to loud sounds for long periods of time.

Musicians can be in contact with sound levels around 120 decibels when the recommendation is not to exceed 80 dB. This overexposure that can happen in concerts, rehearsals or simply listening to music to improve your skills causes a deterioration of the hair cells in the inner ear. According to a study, 19% of Symphony Orchestra Musicians experience severe tinnitus, with an important effect on their daily life, although rock singers are the best known for their hearing problems:

7 musicians who suffer from tinnitus

Below are the names of seven musicians who suffer from tinnitus as a matter of course:

Noel Gallagher

The former Oasis stated in 2013 that after a brain scan it was found that he suffered from tinnitus, although he considered that after 20 years playing guitar and producing music it is worthwhile.

Noel Gallagher - músicos y tinnitus
Credit photo: elpaís.com

Eric Clapton

In 2006 Eric Clapton revealed that when he remains silent he perceives a constant whistle in his ears. The guitar player and vocalist thinks that his concerts are the reason of this since the power of the loudspeaker could exceed 100 watts.

Eric Clapton sufre problemas auditivos debido a sus conciertos
Credit photo: Robert Catalano

Chris Martin

The leader of Coldplay, Chris Martin, admitted in an interview in 2012 he had begun to suffer from hearing problems, since then all his team wears custom-moulded earplugs or sound-monitoring headphones at concerts.  The vocalist regretted for not taking into account his hearing until the problem appeared. At least, since he started wearing hearing protection his condition has not worsened.

Chris_Martin problemas auditivos
Credit photo: Zach Klein (http://www.zachklein.com)

Anthony Kiedis

Red Hot Chili Peppers singer, Anthony Kiedis, tells in his autobiography the moment he was aware of suffering from tinnitus. In 1993 after a night of concert along with the group’s drummer, Chad Smith, they realized they heard a constant ringing. They developed a lasting       hearing damage on that tour.

Anthony Kiedis sufre tinnitus
Credit photo: Stefan Brending, CC

Pete Townshend

The Who guitar player, Pete Townshend, has suffered from tinnitus for years because of his excesses in front of the amplifiers at concerts. His colleague Roger Daltrey stated that in 2011 he had to get much closer to the loudspeakers to be able to hear something.

Pete_Townshend_and_Roger_Daltrey_(Philly_2008) - tinnitus y músicos
Credit photo: Kubacheck – The Who CC BY 2.0

Neil Young

Musician and songwriter Neil Young began to have hearing problems in 1991 while recording the album Weld. Tinnitus forced him to stay away from the stage and music throughout the entire next year and he decided to start taking precautions to protect his hearing health.

Neil_Young problemas auditivos
Credit photo: Per Ole Hagen, CC

James Hetfield y Lars Ulrich

Metallica vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield suffers from tinnitus due to his concerts and his fondness of weapons. His bandmate, drummer Lars Ulrich, at the age of 28, woke up at night by thinking that the television was on when in fact he was suffering from the first episodes of tinnitus.

James Hetfield y Lars Ulrich sufren tinnitus
Credit photo: Kreepin Deth – Own work, CC BY 3.0

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