Celebrities With Tinnitus

By Stella Fulman, AuD

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that celebrities are people, too. And just like everyone else, they can also experience that constant ringing in their ears that plagues so many of us. In fact, because tinnitus often develops because of exposure to loud noises, actors and musicians may even be more prone to tinnitus than the rest of us!
Here’s a list of celebrities that suffer from tinnitus:

  • Ronald Reagan - Before he was President, Ronald Reagan was an actor. While shooting the film Code of the Secret Service in 1939, a blank pistol was shot near his ear, causing tinnitus.
  • Steve Martin - Steve Martin suffered a similar fate as Ronald Reagan. His tinnitus was caused by a gun fight scene while filing Three Amigos.
  • William Shatner - While shooting Star Trek, William Shatner stood too close to the speakers during an explosion, causing immediate ringing in his ears that did not go away. He spoke to the American Tinnitus Association about his experiences with tinnitus, which you can watch here.
  • Rush Limbaugh - Not all celebrities develop tinnitus due to the hazards of their job. Rush Limbaugh has tinnitus in his right ear.
  • Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton’s lifetime of playing the guitar and performing has left him with hearing loss and tinnitus. Since developing these problems, he has used hearing aids and ear protection to prevent any further damage.
  • Trent Reznor - The lead singer of rock band Nine Inch Nails has also developed tinnitus due to years of practicing and performing his music. He has even written songs about the struggle of living with this condition, such as “The Becoming”.
  • Phil Collins - In 2011, the music legend Phil Collins ended his performance career due to his hearing loss and tinnitus. He was in the music industry for over 40 years, performing and attending thousands of shows, so it is no surprise that this took a toll on his hearing.
  • Anthony Kiedis - The front man of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Keidis, also suffers from hearing loss and tinnitus due to his music career. He wrote about it in his autobiography, pinpointing a tour with Nirvana as the start of his tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Chris Martin - Chris Martin of legendary band Coldplay suffers from tinnitus. When speaking of his condition, he said, “Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem”. He and the rest of the band now use ear plugs to protect themselves.
  • Whoopi Goldberg - Whoopi Goldberg, actress, comedian, and talk-show host, has tinnitus, but not from her job. Instead, Goldberg attributes her hearing loss and tinnitus from years of listening to loud music in headphones.
  • Gerard Butler - Unlike many other celebrities on this list, the actor Gerard Butler has had lifelong tinnitus due to a childhood surgery on his right ear. It left his ear partially deformed, resulting in tinnitus, hearing loss, and a slightly crooked smile.
  • Barbra Streisand - Barbra Streisand has had tinnitus since she was nine years old, and she doesn’t know exactly what caused it. She waited years before seeking help and treatment, but now she has learned how to better manage it.

If you have tinnitus, these celebrities show us that life and careers go on in spite of hearing challenges. The best thing you can do is meet with an audiologist to discuss how to prevent further damage and manage your current conditions.