Tinnitus is most often a subjective noise referring to noises heard continuously or intermittently “in the ear” or “in the head” without an external sound source. Only the person with tinnitus can hear it when it is subjective. Rarely can someone else hear an individual’s tinnitus and is known as objective tinnitus. The sounds of tinnitus vary for each individual. Tonal tinnitus sounds are pitched with well-defined frequencies or an overlapping of sounds such as a ringing, buzzing, whooshing, screeching, and whistling. Tonal tinnitus tends to be more common. Non-tonal forms of tinnitus may sound like a clicking, crackling, humming, or a rumbling sound. 10% of the world’s population suffers from tinnitus, a disorder often accompanied by hearing loss. Tinnitus is a sensorineural reaction to an underlying health problem. Though there are many remedies out there to help relieve the symptoms of tinnitus, there is no cure or solution that can help everyone since each individual experiences their tinnitus uniquely. People continue to live with tinnitus, finding different ways to manage and cope with it.
Tinnitus can affect anyone and many people are suffering without a clear path to relief…
Will.i.am, an American multi-platinum Grammy Award winner, hip-hop producer, musician, and the founder of The Black Eyed Peas, first reported in 2010 to suffer from tinnitus and his condition has continued to worsen. In previous interviews, he has stated that at the age of 42, his hearing was that of someone much older. In addition, in 2007, 2013, and 2019], he had all his frequencies tested and on the curve… he stated that it was a “proper” loss.
Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes, is a Canadian electro-pop singer, who suffers from both hearing loss and tinnitus. In 2012, at the age of 24, she had to cancel her European tour due to her tinnitus and to prevent further hearing loss. She even tweeted about her difficulties sleeping due to her tinnitus.
Dave Grohl, the former drummer for Nirvana and the founder of Foo Fighters, has been suffering from tinnitus for the last 30 years, with his left ear worse than his right. He has said in interviews that he can hear fine during performances and when recording in a studio, but struggles with listening to words in a conversation when at a crowded restaurant. So, for the last 20 years, he has been reading lips and now, in recent weeks, he has been speaking out about his hearing loss and tinnitus. Up until the pandemic and mask mandates, Grohl didn’t think his hearing loss affected his life so much. However, the pandemic has proven him wrong. He explained in an interview with Howard Stern that he can still hear certain frequencies and is able to pick up on certain sounds when mixing albums in the studio. And when performing on stage he prefers to go on without ear monitors so that he can hear and really be with the audience even though he says he is going deaf in his left ear.
Eric Clapton, the guitarist known as “Slowhand,” has tinnitus and is losing his hearing after years of playing loud music on stage with the bands Cream, The Yardbirds, and Derek and the Dominos. He has won 18 Grammy awards and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three-time inductee. He was known for turning up the amp “up to 11,” playing at the maximum volume possible, during his performance and when in smaller spaced studios. Even though his “up to 11” has left him with permanent hearing loss, he continues to go on tours now in his 70s.
Chris Martin, Coldplay singer and guitarist, first started playing in a band when he was in middle school, then later formed Coldplay. Martin first noticed signs of his hearing loss and tinnitus at age 25. He started having headaches and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). When he went to get his hearing checked, doctors warned him that tinnitus could end his musical career. This led Martin to begin wearing earplugs on stage and when attending concerts. Since then, he has used his voice to bring more awareness to hearing loss and advising others to be sure to wear hearing protection. He has also stated in interviews how he had wished he thought about looking after his ears earlier, before they had become a problem. On a good note, he has gotten an early start on protecting his children’s hearing – they have been seen many times wearing hearing protection at loud venues and concerts!
Ben Cohen is a former English rugby player. In 2004, he was diagnosed with hearing loss and tinnitus, which was off the charts. He lost 33% of his hearing in both ears, though now, his hearing loss has worsened to about 46% – 50%. He has spoken out about his hearing loss and how he regrets how he had put off getting a hearing test for so long (about 30 years). He has stated how he was in denial about his hearing loss, and masked his problem by being the loudest on the pitch. Other teammates thought he was a rude player, but he just couldn’t hear them nor the calls. He learned to lip read, piece together conversations, and to commentate in games. At the end of his career he held a press conference, in which Elton John reached out to him and sent him to get his hearing checked. He has been wearing hearing aids ever since then and has come to terms with his hearing loss and tinnitus, along with having found other ways to get around it. He has used other tools to help him communicate and understand others, such as using codes with his former dance partner Kristina Rihanoff on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, to help him dance on cue with the music.
There are multiple ways to acquire tinnitus and it can happen to anyone. Remember to use hearing protection in noisy environments. It is also important to find the right treatments and therapies for your unique situation if you do have tinnitus. There are a number of different solutions from mobile apps and sound machines to hearing aids with tinnitus masking features. AudioCardio is a mobile app that aims to help people with hearing and tinnitus issues. AudioCardio delivers an inaudible sound therapy that is designed to maintain and strengthen hearing. Learn more about AudioCardio at www.audiocardio.com.