Huey Lewis Opens Up About Hearing Loss

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In a statement posted to his Twitter and Facebook pages on April 13, Huey Lewis announced that he has canceled all of his planned 2018 tour dates, citing hearing loss as the reason. On May 7, Lewis was interviewed by NBC’s The Today Show.

Lewis told the program: “As I walked to the stage, it sounded like there was a jet engine going on. I knew something was wrong.

“I can’t hear music. I can do everything but what I love to do the most.”

Doctors diagnosed Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear. “It affects people differently,” said Lewis. While there’s no cure, “the good news is it can get better… It just hasn’t yet.”

On his original public disclosure on April 13, Lewis wrote:

“Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing. Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing. The lower frequencies distort violently making it impossible to find pitch. I’ve been to the House Ear Institute, the Stanford Ear Institute, and the Mayo Clinic, hoping to find an answer. The doctors believe I have Meniere’s disease and have agreed that I can’t perform until I improve. Therefore the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this, and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again.

Sincerely, Huey”

Meniere’s disease is described as an inner ear disorder sometimes caused by lack of fluid drainage, infection, migraines, head trauma or allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic.

On April 14, Lewis wrote: “The response from my colleagues, friends and fans has been truly overwhelming. And extremely heartening. It helps me to focus on improving, and finding a way to sing again. Thanks to everyone.”

On The Today Show, Lewis noted: “I’ve always prided myself on being reliable. I’m not the greatest singer in the world but I’m reliable. I’ve canceled five gigs in 40 years maybe.”

Related: AC/DC’s Brian Johnson is another rocker sidelined by hearing loss

Among the dates Lewis has been forced to give up is one at Outside Lands, a large festival held annually in San Francisco.

Lewis, who turned 68 on July 5, 2018, first came to prominence in the early ’80s with his group Huey Lewis and the News. Their string of top 10 hits includes such radio staples as “I Want a New Drug,” “The Power of Love,” “Stuck With You” and “Jacob’s Ladder,” the last three all reaching #1.

Watch the scene in the 1985 feature film Back to the Future that featured “The Power of Love”

Although Lewis’ chart presence slowed down by the mid-’90s, he had remained active. Lewis’ last new studio album was 2010’s Soulsville though he is reportedly close to finishing a new album.

If Lewis’ hearing loss does lead to his retirement from the stage, he will be joining a growing list of rock artists who’ve decided this year, for one reason or another, to give up the touring life, including Elton John, Paul Simon, Joan Baez and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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