The AudioNotch Tinnitus Treatment Blog

Tinnitus And Musical Genius

Written by AudioNotch Team on April 19, 2016

Please note: the following information does not constitute professional medical advice, and is provided for general informational purposes only. Please speak to your doctor if you have tinnitus.


When you think of tinnitus, you usually don’t think of musical genius as well. However, to the surprise of many people, some of the biggest names in music history have suffered with this condition that causes ringing in the ears. Yet despite the difficulties this can cause, those who have the condition have not let it keep them from turning out some of the greatest hits in music history. To find out how tinnitus and musical genius go together, take a look at some of the most well-known musicians who have had this condition.

Neil Young
One of the most popular singer-songwriters since the 1960s, Neil Young didn’t develop tinnitus until the early 1990s. Attributing his condition to years of playing and listening to loud music, he has reportedly gotten so used to the ringing in his ears that he rarely gives it a second thought.

Barbra Streisand
If there is one name in show business that exemplifies the link between tinnitus and musical genius, it’s Barbra Streisand. Star of stage, screen, and television, Barbra has had the condition since age seven. Known for being somewhat temperamental at times, she points to tinnitus as the reason for her volatile personality.

Pete Townshend
If there was one rock group that exemplified the 1960s, it was The Who. With wild antics such as drummer Keith Moon blowing up his drums during a concert and guitars being smashed onstage, a concert by The Who was wildly unpredictable. However, for lead guitarist and group founder Pete Townshend, those antics ultimately gave him tinnitus. A result of the band’s extremely loud music during concerts and the volume at which he listened to studio playbacks when recording an album, Townshend says his tinnitus has gotten worse as he has aged. In fact, he says after shows his tinnitus is almost unbearable, but he has no plans to quit playing anytime soon.

Other Notables
Along with these three, tinnitus and musical genius can be attributed to many other famous folks in the music business. For example, crooner Engelbert Humperdinck suffers from the condition, as does David Letterman’s former band leader Paul Schaffer. Comedian Steve Martin, who in recent years has become noted for his banjo playing and bluegrass concerts and albums, suffers from tinnitus as a result of a shooting scene in a 1986 movie.

While not all musicians have tinnitus, it’s interesting to note just how many famous musicians suffer from the condition. As concerts continue to be loud, it’s expected even more names will be connected to the link between tinnitus and musical genius.