10 Iconic Musicians Who Lost Their Hearing

When it comes to expressing their love of music, both classic and contemporary rock ‘n roll performers have adopted the “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” approach. The Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.) group reports that “60 percent of honorees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are hearing impaired,” which is unfortunate given the organization’s mission.

The following are some of the most well-known artists in the world that have suffered with hearing difficulties.

Neil Young (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield etc)

Neil Young has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on two separate occasions during his career. The artist has turned to folk music in order to manage his tinnitus (a disorder characterised by the sense of a persistent loud ringing in one’s ear) and other hearing problems. His health has improved slightly over the years, allowing him to record and release a plethora of new albums. Neil Young expressed his dissatisfaction with his hearing by saying, “I injured my ears and they’ll never be the same again.”

Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)

When it comes to Ozzy Osbourne’s hearing impairments, he has been open about it on The Osbournes, a reality television programme about the rocker and his wacky family. To understand what his family is saying, Ozzy (also known as The Prince of Darkness) usually needs to ask them to say it again or ask them to repeat themselves. Despite his hearing difficulties, Ozzy managed to record a new album with Black Sabbath, titled 13, in 2013 and tour the world.

Phil Collins (Genesis)

In addition to Phil Collins, who is a tremendously successful stadium performer, he has suffered from serious hearing issues. Even though many have claimed that Phil Collins’ career came to an end far earlier than the year 2011, his formal break began in the same year.

Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group, The Honeydrippers, Beck etc)

When asked why a man scratching at a window with his nails makes such an awful sound, Jeff Beck said in Guitar Magazine in 1993: “Well, you can say why is a guy clawing at a window with his nails such a horrible sound — I couldn’t put up with that! The situation has deteriorated!”

Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds, Cream, Derek & The Dominoes)

Eric Clapton is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in the history of the planet. Clapton was well-known for cranking his amplifier up to “eleven,” much beyond the limits of his instrument’s amplifier. When other musicians who were performing with him expressed dissatisfaction, he simply said, “That’s the way I play.”

He was able to produce feedback and sustain by raising his volume to extremes and moving his microphone around the room in a certain manner (a way to achieve long holding notes). This sound helped him become a successful artist, but it also contributed to his current tinnitus. Clapton said that he “probably had two 100-watt stacks at the height of things” and that he would raise the volume up for guitar solos when needed. “It was completely insane!” — straight from the horse’s mouth.

Pete Townshend (The Who)

Pete Townshend is the guitarist for The Who, a band that has been hailed as one of the most influential in history. For more than 40 years, Townshend has been a part of the music industry. Unfortunately, his hearing has degraded significantly over the course of his life. In addition, he is a founding contributor of the nonprofit H.E.A.R, which is committed to educating artists about hearing loss and tinnitus.

Noel Gallagher (Oasis)

Noel Gallagher of the rock band Oasis is an example of a contemporary musician who suffers from hearing difficulties. A brain scan was performed on Andy Goldstein (a British DJ), who shared his tinnitus experience in an interview with the BBC: “I went for a brain scan. They were successful in their search. I’m experiencing strange ringing in my ears. “I believe it was due to the fact that I’ve been playing guitar for the last 20 years, and I had to sit in a hospital tube.”

Chris Martin

Chris Martin has publicly acknowledged that he suffers from tinnitus in recent years, in support of the Loud Music campaign run by Action On Hearing Loss. According to Chris Martin, one of the most significant issues with hearing health is that people don’t worry about it until they have a problem. Having tinnitus has been bothering me for approximately 10 years, and since I began shielding my ears, the condition has not worsened (touch wood). Nonetheless, “I wished I’d thought about it sooner.”

KT Tunstall

KT Tunstall serves as an ambassador for the Hear The World Foundation in her capacity as a musician. She suffers from tinnitus and has a small hearing loss in one of her ears as a result of this condition. She has also said that “it is only until you are confronted with a situation that you understand how valuable your hearing really is.”

Lars Ulrich (Metallica)

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich has made the following statement on tinnitus: “If you get a cut on your nose, it’ll be gone in a week.” “When you scrape your hearing or damage your hearing, it will not return to normal. “I try to emphasise to younger children that once your hearing is gone, it’s gone for good, and there is no genuine treatment.”

The possibility of harming or losing one’s hearing is often disregarded. As a musician, you must accept responsibility for your actions and safeguard your hearing. Here are some practical suggestions for doing just that.

  • Get the best quality ear protection for musicians that you can afford, it is an investment.
  • Purchase good sound filters. Filters with “flat attenuation” will dampen the volume of the music but not distort the sound, so that the music that you are listening to sounds the same. Cheap sound filters lower treble volumes, but don’t necessarily do the same for bass levels.
  • Buy fitted moulds and invest in 2 pairs so that you have spares. Fitted moulds are customised to fit perfectly into your ear so that your hearing is evenly protected, and the fact that it’s fitted prevents your ear plugs from falling out.

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