London, U.K. (January 11, 2006)–Pete Townshend’s musings in his online diary have sparked warnings in the British press about the danger posed to iPod users by excessive headphone levels. Pondering the Who’s forthcoming album and tour, the 60-year-old guitarist reveals that he believes his hearing loss was due to the use of studio headphones, not just years of extreme stage volumes.
Townshend, writing about the problems he is having with the new album because of his hearing loss, wrote, “[T]oday, this very morning, after a night in the studio trying to crack a difficult song demo, I wake up realizing again–reminding myself, and feeling the need to remind the world–that my own particular kind of damage was caused by using earphones in the recording studio, not playing loud on stage.” Townsend must rest his hearing for 36 hours between sessions.
He warned iPod users, “My intuition tells me there is terrible trouble ahead.” The downside to downloading and the everyday reliance on computers, he notes, is that “we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound.”
A report on the BBC News web site states that Britain’s Royal National Institute for the Deaf has found that 39 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds listened to personal music players for at least an hour every day and 42 percent admitted they thought they had the volume too high. The article notes that Phil Collins, Neil Young, Sting, Mick Fleetwood and George Martin have all talked publicly about their hearing problems.
According to The Times of London, about 4.7 million Britons–one in ten adults–are estimated to suffer from tinnitus. The report adds tinnitus-sufferer Barbra Streisand and rapper Foxy Brown to the list of artists with hearing impairment. Brown, who is 26, will shortly undergo surgery to restore her hearing.