By Yishane Lee
Chris Potter is a world-renowned saxophonist and composer who has been living with Ménière’s disease, a hearing and balance disorder, for two decades. We’re thrilled that he is our second Les Paul Ambassador.
The Les Paul Ambassadors were created with the Les Paul Foundation to honor guitar great Les Paul, who had hearing loss and tinnitus. The program promotes awareness of tinnitus and hearing loss and the search for a cure through our groundbreaking Hearing Restoration Project.
We profile Potter in our Spring issue of Hearing Health magazine. Here is an excerpt:
“I got Ménière’s disease in my mid-20s. I’ve lost pretty much all my hearing in my left ear—there’s just ringing. It was absolutely terrifying. I was getting episodes of dizziness, and my hearing would go up and down. In the meantime, I’d have to wake up at 5 a.m. and take three flights to get to a performance that night—when I didn’t even know if I would be able to stand up.
“It was very stressful, as was not knowing if it would happen in both ears, but I somehow made it through. It’s something you get used to. But the vertigo alone is life-altering. You don’t feel comfortable making plans.”
Potter tried various treatments with different degrees of success. He shares his story in an effort to show solidarity with other musicians who have hearing issues, and to help HHF find a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Read more from Potter’s candid interview about being a musician with hearing loss and Ménière’s disease.
Learn more about the amazing Les Paul, who died in 2009 at age 94, and the industry-altering advances he made in the world of music production and technology. His dear friend Lou Pallo, a guitar hero in his own right, was our first Les Paul Ambassador.