5 Famous Musicians Who Are Plagued with Hearing Problems

musicians with hearing problems

Listening to music has a lot of emotional, cognitive, and physical benefits. According to research, music can improve people’s moods, encourage better learning, enhance memory retention, reduce stress, promote cardiovascular health, and so much more. Despite these many benefits, the way people listen to music can adversely affect their health. No one knows these negative effects more than musicians.

The threshold of sound that can cause damage to your ear structure is 130 decibels. Health organisations also put the threshold to 115-decibel sound exposure to twenty-eight seconds to minimise hearing damage. 

However, during every performance, musicians are at risk of losing their hearing. One bad feedback from a 140-decibel speaker can directly damage their ear structures. A ninety-minute to two-hour exposure to 115-decibel music can cause tinnitus to temporary hearing loss. These are not only hypothetical situations because there are musicians still suffering from noise-induced hearing issues.

It may not look like it, but here are some musicians who may have failed their hearing tests but did not let it get in their way.

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend is a prolific musician, guitarist, and songwriter. As the co-founder of one of the most influential rock bands in the 60s and 70s, The Who, he has played in different concert halls for well over twenty years. 

But because of the loud music during events, Townshend struggled with tinnitus and hearing loss for years. This led to him performing behind a glass partition in their 1989 World Tour. Today, bandmates describe him as being “almost stone deaf.”

Ozzy Osbourne

The eccentric rock star Ozzy Osbourne shot to rock stardom with his band Black Sabbath in the 70s. As the lead singer of the heavy metal band, he has had his fair share of music that pushes the decibel threshold of safety. 

Although he and the band officially parted ways in 1979, Osbourne continued to have a successful rock music career. The one he had to pay for his success, however, is a serious case of tinnitus.

Chris Martin

Cold Play frontman Chris Martin is a singer, songwriter, and pianist that continues to play sold-out concerts in different parts of the globe today. Their alternative rock band has been together since 1999 and has even done 122 shows in a single tour. 

Unfortunately, Martin has been struggling with tinnitus since 2002 that he ended up wearing earplugs at every event ever since.

Anthony Kiedis

Known for his high energy and antics, singer Anthony Kiedis has been the frontman for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers since its inception in 1983.  By the 1990s, the band had shot to stardom and played their signature funk rock music in massive venues to deafening crowds. Kiedis developed tinnitus in the early 90s during their legendary show with Nirvana.


American rapper, singer, and songwriter Will.i.am shot to fame with his musical group, the Black Eyed Peas. Although the band was formed in 1995, it was not until 2003 and the release of their single “Where Is the Love?” that they started topping charts and performing in the biggest venues across the globe. At forty-three, Will.i.am revealed that he has been battling tinnitus for years and seeking help from hearing clinicians.


According to the Department of Health, 3.6 million Australians suffer from hearing loss, and 1.3 million of those could have been prevented. The best way to combat noise-induced hearing loss is to turn down the volume when listening to music, limit the exposure to loud noises, wear hearing protection when needed, and schedule hearing tests with your hearing clinician.

You can still go to music festivals and rock concerts; you just have to be safe about it. Pick seats that are away from loudspeakers or wear musician’s earplugs. Make sure to give your ears eighteen hours to recover too.

CH Care is a locally owned and operated business that offers a wide array of professional hearing services in Victoria. Our experienced clinicians provide top-notch hearing assessments, hearing aid fittings, and more in permanent and visiting hearing clinics in different parts of Australia. Book an appointment today and hear the difference!

Which Famous People Lived with a Hearing Loss Condition?

famous people with hearing loss

Incredible advancements in the fields of medicine and technology made it possible to diagnose, treat and live with a variety of hearing conditions. This fact makes us feel grateful and curious about the question, “What was it like for people with hearing loss before the invention of today’s hearing aids and devices?”

It might not come as a surprise, but many famous historical figures even lived under these kinds of conditions. They did not let these come in their way, though, as each of them made a name of their own with marvellous achievements in their respective fields. 

Ludwig van Beethoven

A revered master of music, Beethoven proved that the irony of music and hearing could not stop his determination and undisputed talent in the art. He was not born deaf and had to endure the harrowing experience of slowly losing his hearing. However, if there was one thing he was born with, it was his effortless grasp of music theory, easily making him one of the best composers that ever lived. 

Julia Brace

Made blind and deaf by severe typhus fever, Julia Brace enrolled at the Hartford Asylum or the American School for the Deaf. She became known as a kind nurse who preferred to communicate with sign language despite her fluency in the English language. 

Thomas Edison

One of the most famous names in science, Thomas Edison also lived with a poor hearing condition throughout his life. Edison found good humour in his situation, though, as he joked about concentrating better by ignoring conversations he could not hear. It was also believed that he proposed to his wife, who was also almost deaf, through a telegraph machine. 

Francisco Goya

Many people seem to forget that his gradual hearing loss and isolation influenced well-known Spanish painter Francisco Goya’s vibrant career. He became deaf after being afflicted with a mysterious disease, was caught in a bloody war in his country and eventually fell to cynicism and depression. His collection of remarkable artworks included a series of dark-themed paintings that he hung on his walls. 

Helen Keller

One can’t claim to make a list of famous deaf individuals without including Helen Keller in it. Helen was both blind and deaf, but she was clear about speaking out about injustices she witnessed in her time. She was known as a conscientious labour and women rights advocate, political activist and anti-war figure.  

Juliette Gordon Low

Inspired by the skills and knowledge imparted by the Girl Guides Association, Juliette was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Despite living with a disability, she was able to spread troops throughout England, Georgia, Savannah and Scotland. Today, many young women are benefitting and growing in the community Juliette established. 


Like millions of other people with a hearing disability, the individuals above faced hardships and worked to overcome them. They comprise a tiny percentage of famous people with hearing loss, and others like them are probably excelling in their professions as well. They are scientists, musicians, artists, teachers and activists who we can expect to add to the long list of amazing people with disabilities. 

If you need professional hearing services from experienced clinicians, contact CH Care. We are an independent, locally owned and operated business that specialises in hearing assessments and hearing aid fitting and maintenance. Book an appointment with us today.