Musicians are more likely than non-musicians to suffer from hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus are triggered by the bang of the drums, the blare of a loudspeaker, and the thump of the bass.
Musicians can now use high-quality ear plugs to protect themselves from high volumes, but the damage has already been done for many older musicians.
Consider the following musicians, who have publicly admitted to suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus:
Neil Young released "Harvest Moon," a softer album than his previous works, in 1992. According to MOJO Magazine, he "didn't want to hear any loud sounds." I still have some tinnitus, but I'm not as sensitive to loud noises as I was for a year after the mixing of 'Weld' [in 1991]. My hearing isn't perfect, but it's adequate."
Phil Collins announced his retirement from his legendary music career in 2011, citing health concerns. Collins' loss of hearing in his left ear was one of his major health issues. Collins later returned to music, this time focusing on composition.
"Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don't think about until there's a problem," the Coldplay musician told the UK's Action on Hearing Loss. I've had tinnitus for about ten years, and it hasn't gotten any worse since I started protecting my ears (touch wood). But I wish I'd thought of it sooner."
Peter Townsend, best known for his time with "The Who," is open about his hearing loss, which he blames on studio headphones.
Hearing loss and tinnitus affect more than just rock and roll legends. Classical musicians are also in danger. A Finnish study of classical musicians discovered that 15% of them had hearing loss. 41 percent of them experienced "temporary tinnitus" during rehearsals. Despite these statistics, only about a quarter of the musicians studied wore hearing protection.
Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus, fortunately, can be avoided. If you're a musician, talk to a hearing specialist about how to protect your ears from loud noises.