The frequent, prolonged exposure to the loud volume of concerts and crowds puts musicians at prime risk for hearing problems, including tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss.
Although not all celebrities will admit to specific health conditions, some speak freely about them in order to raise awareness. After suffering in silence from tinnitus for 10 years, British musician Chris Martin now speaks about the need to protect your ears while listening to loud music to prevent hearing problems in the future.
The Coldplay frontman committed to donate an unreleased track to a planned compilation album, “I Am the One in Ten,” to benefit the British Tinnitus Association. The title refers to the number of people in the U.K. estimated to have tinnitus. The Black Eyed Peas, an American hip hop group, are also on board to donate a song to the album, which is still being planned.
Read on to hear from just a few of the many artists who suffer from tinnitus, in their own words.
—Andrea Delbanco, Senior Editor, Hearing Health Magazine
"I don't know what silence sounds like any more. Music is the only thing which eases my pain.... I can't be still. Work calms me down. I can't be quiet, as that's when I notice the ringing in my ears. There's always a beep there every day, all day. Like now. I don't know exactly how long I've had this, but it's gradually got worse."
—Will.i.am, musician, as told to Britain’s The Sun
“I made 'Harvest Moon' [in 1992] because I didn't want to hear any loud sounds. I still have a little bit of tinnitus, but fortunately now I'm not as sensitive to loud sounds as I was for a year after the mixing of 'Weld’ [in 1991]. My hearing's not perfect but it's okay.”
—Neil Young, musician, as told to MOJO Magazine
"When I went to have my hearing tested, I had supersonic hearing. I hear more. It's annoying because I long to hear silence. That's one of the reasons that I always felt different as a kid. I was in the sixth grade when I started to hear these strange noises, and I would put scarves around my head to try to block them out. I lived with a secret. I was afraid to find out what it was."
—Barbra Streisand, musician, as told to “The Barbara Walters Special”
"There were days when I didn't know whether I would survive, I was so tormented by the screeching in my head."
—William Shatner, actor, as told to the American Tinnitus Association
"I suffer from permanent tinnitus . . . which means I've got this constant ringing in my ears, which has also made me somewhat deaf (or 'conveniently deaf,' as Sharon calls it). It's like this Whee! noise in my head all the time. Should have worn earplugs, I guess."
—Ozzy Osbourne, musician, as told to the Sunday Times of London
"I've had tinnitus for about 10 years, and since I started protecting my ears it hasn't got any worse—touch wood. Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don't think about until there's a problem. I wish I'd thought about it earlier."
—Chris Martin, musician, as told to Britain's The Mirror