Is being a pop star bad for your ears? Ayumi Hamasaki and 5 other musicians with hearing damage

Japanese pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki performs at Marina Bay Sands in 2014.
Japanese pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki performs at Marina Bay Sands in 2014.PHOTO: LENNE CHAI

Ayumi Hamasaki revealed that she was starting to go deaf in her right, and only working, ear on Saturday (May 20).

It's not uncommon for professional musicians to lose their hearing, studies have found, and it's easy to see why.

It's in their job description to be exposed to loud noise that leave our ears ringing, both at rehearsals and in concerts.

A German study in 2014 found that musicians were four times as likely as the average person to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

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Studies on rock and pop musicians found that just under half of them have problems with their hearing.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of pop stars that have had hearing damage.

1. will.i.am

will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, 42, suffers from tinnitus, one of the common conditions musicians suffer from.

People with this condition hear a ringing, buzzing or roaring sound even when there isn't one.


will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas suffers from tinnitus. PHOTO: REUTERS

"Do I like tinnitus... My ears constantly (he makes a high-pitched sound)," he said in a 2011 interview. "Can't sleep, turn on the TV, gotta drown out my tinnitus."

2. Chris Martin


Chris Martin uses moulded filter plugs or in-ear monitors to try and protect his ears. PHOTO: AFP

Coldplay frontman and British singer Chris Martin, 40, has also been suffering from tinnitus for more than a decade.

Severe earaches and headaches are also common in sufferers, and the condition can result in permanent deafness if it goes untreated.

Now he uses moulded filter plugs or in-ear monitors to try and protect his ears, he said in 2012.

3. Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck, 72, who has been hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, has struggled with tinnitus in his left ear.

He said the condition became worse when he couldn't sleep properly, and ironically, the insomnia was partly brought on by the stress caused by tinnitus.

4. Lars Ulrich


Lars Ulrich's hearing problems got worse during a 1988 concert tour. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Metallica drummer, 53, said his hearing problems got worse during a 1988 concert tour.

"I would fall asleep often with the television on, and I would wake up in the middle of the night to go turn the TV off," Ulrich told CNN in 2009. "Except it wasn't actually on."

6. Brian Johnson

Singer Brian Johnson of Australian band AC/DC said he was at risk of "total hearing loss".

He likened it to a "sports injury" in an interview with Rolling Stone.

"I'm lucky. I'm 68. ... And I've had a pretty good run. I've been in one of best bands in the world," he said last year.