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Celebrities with hearing loss: From singers to Presidents!

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A female paticent seeing a doctor for her hearing issue.

I'm having some difficulties hearing, will I get better?

 

Hearing loss is congenital and personally irrelevant.

Many people may feel that way.

The truth is, however, hearing loss is said to occur from physical and mental stress, overwork and other causes that are very much common to our modern lives.

According to a report in 2017 by the Japan Medical Journal which follows cases of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), or sudden deafness as is commonly known, the ratio of SSHL contraction has reached 30 out of 100,000, exhibiting a 50% increase from ten years ago. A website administered by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, providing information on preventing lifestyle diseases, notes that SSHL are caused by stress, overwork, lack of sleep, diabetes among others.

I hope this article, which shows you that there are quite a number of celebrities who experience hearing loss, will help you better familiarize yourself with this issue.

Writer

Author:Riyo Aomoto

Global Writer


What is hearing loss and SSHL?

SSHL is a disease that suddenly causes hearing problems in either one or both ears. Among all cases of auditory malfunctions, SSHL is a general term for symptoms with no clear causal explanation and can happen to a wide age group. The affected individual may hear perfectly one day and suddenly face hearing problems the next day. Tinnitus and vertigo may accompany hearing loss, and some people reportedly tested for vertigo only to be diagnosed as hearing loss.

Early checkup is considered critical -- a person diagnosed with hearing problems is strongly recommended to receive treatment at an early stage in order to avoid prolonged symptoms and loss of hearing ability. 

celebrities with hearing loss

Some celebrities who appear in magazines, TVs and the Internet have disclosed their own experience with hearing loss in the past and present. The symptoms and the way they become self-aware of the disease vary among each celebrity. Some have publicly admitted that they have failed to recover their audibility because they were too late.

Shoko Aida  

Shoko Aida, former member of Wink, has announced her experience dealing with hearing problems in 2020. When she was 25, she finished her rehearsal for a music TV program, returned to her dressing room, and was abruptly struck with a tinnitus in her right ear so strong -- like whistles of a ship -- that she could not keep standing. She was later diagnosed as SSHL and hospitalized. After treatment, her hearing ability made a miraculous recovery even though she was diagnosed late.

Kinki Kids  Kinki Kids ・Tsuyoshi Domoto

Tsuyoshi Domoto, a member of Kinki Kids, also suffered from SSHL in 2017, a year of his group’s 20-year anniversary. He was reportedly going through noise-induced hearing loss. His recovery has allowed him to spend each day without major hearing issues, and he is endeavouring to conquer after effects.


Sakanaction・Ichiro Yamaguchi

In a TV program “Jonetsu-Tairiku” broadcast by MBS in 2015, Ichiro Yamaguchi, a vocalist of the rock band “Sakanaction,” reveals his struggle with hearing loss. In 2010, about three days before the band’s tour, he was suddenly met with vertigo and tinnitus, and was later diagnosed with SSHL. While being aware that he needed to be hospitalized, he was more concerned about the fate of his rockband and pressed ahead with his live tour. He says he was such a fool in hindsight and that he pushed himself too much. His right ear is virtually deaf even to today.


Shikao Suga

Shikao Suga, the singer, has also announced in 2012 his battle against hearing loss on his official blog site “konoyubitomare.” He says the hearing ability in his right ear plummeted after experiencing physical stress such as blowing his nose hard prior to his first solo live performance and from the loud sound during his live performances. He suffered from tinnitus and hissing sound in his ears, but quickly received medical treatments and continued his live tour. As a result, his right ear is showing signs of recovery, an illustration of the importance of timely treatment.



Jodie・Foster

Jodie Foster, an actress with a long career in Hollywood, widely known for her roles in “Silence of the Lambs” and “Taxi Driver,” is also reported to have hearing problems. In an interview with Chicago Tribune, she says she has skipped doctor’s appointments while coping with hearing loss, vertigo and taking care of her children.



Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, a former actor and the 40th President of the United States, was the first President to wear hearing aids in the Whitehouse. This was officially announced by his spokesperson in 1983, when he was still in office. He is said to have exposed himself to hearing loss after hearing a gunshot at close range in the battlefield in his early days. When a 72-year old Ronald Reagan announced he had begun to wear custom made hearing aids in his right ear, New York Times and other news outlets reported on this news. The hearing aid was placed inside the President’s ears and was barely noticeable.

 

Author’s note 

We tend to prioritize work and private lives over our own health.

Declining audibility is hard to notice and be conscious of, but it is difficult to recover your hearing ability once it is lost. I have a close acquaintance who long ignored his hearing problem as trivial and has now basically lost audibility in one ear. Not only does the affected individual suffer, but the people around him/her also regret not advising more strongly to go see a doctor.

Hearing loss can happen to anyone regardless of age.

If you experience any vertigo, tinnitus or discomfort in hearing, it is important that you do not belittle the warning and that you go to a hospital. 

References

The Japan Medical Journal, “SSHL”, 2017
E health-net by The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, “SSHL”, 2018
The Oto‐Rhino‐Laryngological Soc. of Japan “Hearing loss”, 2020
TV Tokyo Plus, “TV interview with Shoko Aida”, 2020

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