Which famous people suffer with tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the term used for when a person perceives a sound when no external sound source is present. Many possible causes for tinnitus have been identified. These causes include hearing loss due to aging or noise exposure, earwax or other obstructions in the ear canal, head injury, stress, and even some medications.

In addition to the multiple causes of tinnitus, the description of the sound of tinnitus can vary from person to person. Some people hear their tinnitus as a ringing, hissing, or static sound, while others describe it as crickets or squealing. Although many people are not affected by hearing their tinnitus, some find tinnitus very bothersome and distracting. If you’re experiencing tinnitus, you’re not alone. Approximately 15% of the population experiences tinnitus–including these well-known celebrities.

Celebrities with Tinnitus

  • William Shatner
    • Actor William Shatner has spoken at length about the tinnitus he developed following a special effects explosion while filming Star Trek. He is a member of the American Tinnitus Association and uses his platform to show those with tinnitus that they are not alone in their experience. He has also discussed his successful experience working with an audiologist to identify characteristics of his tinnitus and develop strategies to assist him in tinnitus management.
  • Steve Martin
    • Like William Shatner, actor and comedian Steve Martin’s tinnitus started while the actor was filming a scene. His tinnitus began after a pistol-shooting scene in the movie The Three Amigos. He says that he has learned to live with it and has made adjustments in his life so the tinnitus does not bother him.
  • Liza Minnelli
    • Actress and singer Liza Minnelli developed tinnitus after sitting next to her father at the Academy Awards in 1973–when she won an award, her father was so excited that he yelled right into her ear. She has experienced tinnitus in her left ear since then.
  • Musicians such as Chris Martin, Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Clapton and Huey Lewis
    • Exposure to loud sounds is known to be one cause of tinnitus due to the damage these sounds can cause to the inner ear. Sounds louder than 85 decibels (around the volume of a blender) are known to be capable of ear damage, and it is common for concerts to reach a volume much louder than 85 decibels. Many musicians are at risk of developing tinnitus due to the loud music at their concerts. Some of these musicians are beginning to speak out about their experiences to encourage others to protect their ears around loud noise.
      • Coldplay’s Chris Martin discussed his experience with tinnitus with the It’s a Noisy Planet campaign in order to promote use of hearing protection for children. He now uses earplugs made for musicians when performing to help prevent further damage to his ears, and his own children wear hearing protection when they attend his concerts.
      • Ozzy Osbourne’s concerts have been measured to reach up to 120 decibels, well over the 85 decibels that can start to cause inner ear damage. So it’s not surprising that Ozzy Osbourne has spoken about his development of tinnitus over his career. His own experience with the consequences of loud noise exposure inspired him to help raise money for the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
      • Similar to Chris Martin and Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Clapton also has tinnitus following his long career of playing loud concerts. He is continuing to perform but is encouraging fans to wear ear plugs to protect their ears.
      • Although Huey Lewis has plenty of experience being around loud concerts, his tinnitus and hearing loss is from a diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease–an inner ear disorder that can cause fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance problems. Although he deals with bouts of symptoms that can be debilitating, he states that he appreciates that he was able to perform for so long before his Meniere’s symptoms began, and he is grateful for the support of his fans who cherish his music.

Where to get help

If you’re dealing with bothersome tinnitus, you may have heard people tell you to stop paying attention to it and “just learn to live with it.” However, “just learning to live with it” isn’t the only option. There are many resources you can use to help you manage your tinnitus. One useful source of information is the websites of credible tinnitus associations, such as the American Tinnitus Association (https://www.ata.org/) and the British Tinnitus Association (https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/). These websites include verified facts about tinnitus, information about tinnitus management strategies, and messages from other people experiencing tinnitus.

Making an appointment with an audiologist who specializes in tinnitus management can also provide you with strategies for managing tinnitus. During the appointment, the audiologist will test your hearing and measure different characteristics of your tinnitus. Based on the results, the audiologist can make recommendations for the next steps and work with you to find methods to best cope with tinnitus in your everyday life. Depending on what the audiologist observes during the appointment, these steps may include an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat physician for a medical evaluation; the use of hearing instruments; or the implementation of tinnitus management strategies in your life.

Additionally, some therapists are skilled in providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for tinnitus management. The use of CBT strategies can help change emotional responses to tinnitus. By altering the emotions felt by individuals when they hear their tinnitus, the amount of distress associated with the tinnitus can be altered as well. CBT also helps people with tinnitus identify errors in their thoughts revolving around tinnitus (e.g., “I’ll never have a good day if I can hear my tinnitus”) and work to create new thoughts about tinnitus (e.g., “Even if I can hear my tinnitus, I can still enjoy myself at the picnic today.”). Utilizing these strategies with guidance from a therapist can assist in the process of reducing the annoyance and frustration associated with tinnitus.

Can allergies cause tinnitus?

While there is no direct link between allergies and tinnitus, allergic reactions could potentially exacerbate existing tinnitus symptoms in some individuals. Allergies might lead to inflammation or fluid buildup in the ears, affecting hearing and possibly contributing to the perception of ringing or buzzing sounds. It’s crucial to consult with an audiologist to determine the underlying causes of your tinnitus and receive appropriate guidance on managing both allergies and tinnitus effectively.

Living With Tinnitus

Once your tinnitus has been evaluated by the appropriate healthcare professionals, there are steps you can take to make your experience with tinnitus more tolerable. Although there are no proven methods for reducing the loudness or occurrence of tinnitus, there are strategies you can use to minimize your emotional reaction to your tinnitus. Some people find relief from the stress of hearing their tinnitus by using soothing sounds or background sounds in their environment to reduce the contrast between the sound of their tinnitus and the quiet of their environment.

Others use relaxation techniques to calm down their thoughts when they hear their tinnitus. And it’s important to remember, you’re not the only one working through their reaction to hearing tinnitus. Finding a support group for people with tinnitus can also assure those dealing with tinnitus that they’re not alone. The American Tinnitus Association offers a list of groups on its website (https://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/support-network).


Many people live with tinnitus, including several celebrities who have spoken out about their experience. No one person’s tinnitus story is the same as another–everyone has different descriptions of what their tinnitus sounds like, how often they experience it, what caused it, and how bothered they are by it. But just because your tinnitus may differ from someone else’s, it doesn’t mean that you have to learn to deal with it alone. If you’re struggling with tinnitus, there are professionals you can consult and steps you can take to manage your reactions and emotional state related to your tinnitus.

Dr. Liliana Cabrera Piccinini

Liliana earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Salus University, PA. She is a member of The Academy of Doctors of Audiology. Due to her own hearing loss history, Liliana is particularly passionate about her profession. She is determined to effectively diagnose and guide patients in finding the best hearing solutions. You can find Liliana at PA Center for Hearing and Balance, PA.
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Dr. Liliana Cabrera Piccinini

Liliana earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Salus University, PA. She is a member of The Academy of Doctors of Audiology. Due to her own hearing loss history, Liliana is particularly passionate about her profession. She is determined to effectively diagnose and guide patients in finding the best hearing solutions. You can find Liliana at PA Center for Hearing and Balance, PA.
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