The Mayo Clinic defines tinnitus as “hearing ringing, buzzing, or other noise in the ears that other people don’t hear.”
The term tinnitus describes a symptom of another audiological disorder rather than an independent diagnosis. It’s frequently associated with age-related hearing loss, a disorder of the circulatory system, a head injury, or direct impact to the ears. Sudden exposure to extremely loud noise and prolonged noise exposure over time are two of the top causes of ear injury leading to tinnitus.
Tinnitus isn’t necessarily serious, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to live with each day. It often gets worse with age. Fortunately, treatments such as sound therapy and an increasing range of innovative new devices may bring tinnitus relief for many individuals. This can include playing soothing background music to drown out the sounds, retraining the ear, and a variety of other at-home remedies.
Tinnitus common audiological symptom affecting up to 20 percent of the population and becomes more common as people age. There are numerous examples of musicians and other celebrities with tinnitus including the ten listed below:
Eric Clapton developed both hearing loss and tinnitus after singing and playing guitar for decades. Unfortunately, he spent many hours on stage and in recording studios without thinking of protecting his hearing. Clapton now wears hearing aids, protects his hearing while performing or practicing, and implements remedies recommended by his doctor to deal with the tinnitus. He continues to sing, play guitar, and perform.
Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki holds many other titles. Actress, composer, model, entrepreneur, and spokesperson are just some of them. People in Asia consider her one of their top celebrities. In 2008, Hamasaki announced she had developed total deafness in her left ear that she thought could be related to tinnitus. She didn’t say how the deafness or tinnitus occurred. Despite the obvious challenge, she has continued in her many roles after expressing a desire not to disappoint her fans.
Musician and singer Huey Lewis first developed tinnitus in his late 60s. After a concert in Dallas, he was standing in his hotel room feeling like a jet engine was right next to him. He also couldn’t hear anything his bandmates said to him, leading them to cancel their remaining 40 concerts that year. He eventually received a diagnosis of Meniere’s disease and no longer performs but continues to live life to the fullest anyway.
Chris Martin, the lead songwriter for the band Coldplay, has suffered tinnitus for over 10 years. Although still a young man, Martin thinks he developed the auditory condition in his teens due to his habit of listening to extremely loud music. He now wears earplugs when performing and warns teenagers to protect their hearing by not making the same mistake he did. He also acknowledges that hearing protection isn’t something most young people consider but hopes his experience can change that. Martin’s tinnitus hasn’t worsened in the past decade thanks to the fact he now makes protecting his hearing a priority.
Actor and comedian Steve Martin developed tinnitus after a loud pistol shooting scene on the set of the movie Three Amigos in 1986. He has lived with it ever since. Asked for his advice to other tinnitus sufferers, Martin simply expressed that people must learn to live with it and make the necessary adjustments to keep from going crazy. He continues in all the roles he had prior to 1986.
When Liza Minnelli won an Academy Award in 1973, her excited father shouted so loud while sitting next to her that it caused permanent damage to her left ear. She continues to live with tinnitus and permanent damage to her hearing to this day. That was nearly 50 years ago and her story is an example of resilience among the may celebrities with tinnitus.
The name Ozzy Osbourne is synonymous with strange on-stage antics, including once screaming at 105 decibels for 68 seconds straight. However, Osbourne claims it was all the head banging he did during live concerts that caused him to develop tinnitus. He also admits to never wearing earplugs and that he still bangs his head. As a result, he lives with a constant whooshing sound in both ears and has lost some of his hearing.
The actor who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek for years has always been open about his tinnitus struggle. His symptoms began immediately after a loud explosion on the set of the television show. Describing the sounds as screeching and harsh, Shatner also admits to feeling a sense of panic when he experiences symptoms. The things Shatner has found most helpful include reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, getting plenty of exercise, listening to calming sounds, and wearing sound maskers.
Actress and singer Barbra Streisand has lived with tinnitus since age nine. She didn’t seek treatment for many years, which led to significant personal and professional challenges. After finally visiting an audiologist as an adult, Streisand received the proper diagnosis and began taking steps to reduce her stress level and symptoms. She has won numerous awards since then.
The lead guitarist and songwriter for The Who, Pete Townshend developed hearing loss from exposure to extremely loud noise levels over the year. He found out he had tinnitus at the same time as tinnitus. Townshend now uses customized ear protection during practice and performances. He also relies on a computer program to help him hear sound frequencies he can no longer hear on his own, determined to continue performing despite his challenges.
Tinnitus Doesn’t Have to Be Limiting
It can be overwhelming for people when they first learn that they have tinnitus. They good news is they’re not alone since millions of Americans share this auditory symptom, including many celebrities with tinnitus. The important thing is to seek prompt treatment, follow doctor recommendations, and adapt as necessary. While it might curtail some events such as attending loud concerts, people with this condition eventually learn what helps and what makes them uncomfortable. That allows them to live life as they see fit.