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10 Awesome Musicians Who Suffered From Hearing Loss

Posted by Hearex Staff on


Great artists often suffer for their art, and the same goes true for great musicians. The constant exposure to loud music and noise takes a toll on their ears, putting them at risk for tinnitus and other forms of hearing loss.

But good ears don't make the musician. It's their musicality and innate ability to make their listeners feel in touch with what the music they're playing that do.

With that said, here are some of the world's best musicians that you weren't aware suffer from some form of hearing loss.

1. Phil Collins

Lead singer in the rock band Genesis (which was then followed by a stellar solo singing career), Phil Collins announced in 2011 that he will stop going on tours because of hearing loss brought about by chronic noise exposure. After winning the Grammy and Golden Globe Awards, as well as an Oscar, you can say that the man really deserves a well-needed break.

2. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson is among the few musicians in this list whose diminished hearing has been a permanent condition since childhood (and not just as a result of exposure to loud music). His right ear doesn't hear that well, and the reasons for this is unknown. Though most fans think that this is a condition that he was born with, others think it was from a blow to the head that Wilson received in childhood.

3. Ryan Adams

Alt-rock singer Ryan Adams has a rare condition called Meniere's disease, which makes him suffer through unexpected bouts of vertigo. The condition became so bad that he took a two-year break from the music industry to rest. Still, he returned in fighting form, winning a Grammy award nomination in 2015 for his self-titled album.

4. Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis constantly shares his experience with hearing loss and tinnitus to other musicians, to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to loud music. He wears a hearing aid in each ear as a result of the endless loud gigs and concerts that he played through in his music career.

5. Neil Young

Fact: sixty percent of all inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has hearing impairment. Another fact: singer-songwriter Neil Young is part of that sad statistic. The condition affected his playing so much that he was forced to stop recording for a few years to recuperate. Still, despite not having the full use of his ears, Young still managed to win two Grammys in 2009 and 2010.

6. Pete Townshend

"It hurts," Pete Townsend was once caught saying. "It's painful and frustrating." The long-time guitarist for the Who was in constant pain from the damage to his ears brought about by chronic exposure to loud noise during concerts and band practice. It also didn't help that the Who's drummer Keith Moon was in the habit of destroying his drum kits at the end of concerts with explosives.

7. Eric Clapton

Singer-guitarist Eric Clapton has long been suffering from tinnitus, which he attributes to the constant exposure to loud music that he encounters during concerts and gigs. Still, despite his diminished hearing, the man's still got six Grammy Awards under his belt, most prominently Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Tears in Heaven."

8. Sting

Never letting his tinnitus slow him down, singer (as well as former the Police frontman) Sting became a hearing loss advocate and avid supporter of the Hear the World campaign. He is probably one of the most successful hearing-impaired artists of his age, with 16 Grammys under his belt and a whole slew of music awards from other organizations.

9. Bono

Bono accepts his hearing impairment as part of his identity as a musician. His screen name actually came from a hearing aid store located in Dublin, and he also made references to his hearing loss in his songs. Bono, as well as U2- the band he helped establish- received many awards and Grammys throughout the years.

10. Ludwig van Beethoven

With his hearing slowly diminishing by his mid-20s, it's unfortunate that Beethoven wasn't able to hear some of his best works performed live (it is said that his best pieces were composed in the last 15 years of his life). He even used hearing aids, including an ear trumpet. Still, it's a testament to the man's genius that he was able to compose the world's most iconic orchestra and piano pieces without the full use of his hearing.