Hamasaki is going completely deaf

Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki vows to continue performing.
Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki vows to continue performing.PHOTO: AVEX

TOKYO • Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki is going completely deaf, she said on her blog Team Ayu last Saturday.

Hamasaki, who is the best-selling Japanese solo artist of all time, has been deaf in her left ear since 2008.

But her right ear has now begun to weaken, the 38-year-old said. She was nauseated and had vertigo just before this year's concert tour.

"I was told after various hearing tests that my right ear (which has been working overtime to compensate for the deafness of my left ear) is quickly weakening," she wrote. "I was experiencing crippling dizziness. I was unable to walk in a straight line and was often vomiting in the restroom while at the rehearsal studio."

The prolific singer and performer said she felt lost after the ear checks.

"I remember wondering how would I, as a singer, be able to cope with two useless ears. I was in the dark."

Her ear condition stems from a cold she caught during her 2000 Act I concert tour. She caught a cold and an ear infection, but continued touring after spending a few days in hospital.

Doctors told her to ease her exposure to loud noises, but she did not cancel or postpone any tour dates until much later. She also continued to work at a frenetic pace in the years after.

By 2008, she was deaf in her left ear. The queen of J-pop was thought to have tinnitus, a ringing in the ear that can be caused by constant exposure to sound.

Even now, she vows to continue performing.

"The stage is where I belong. It's the only place I really, truly exist. I don't know anything else," she wrote, according to Japanese entertainment sites.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Hamasaki is going completely deaf'. Print Edition | Subscribe