Eric Clapton has revealed he is “going deaf” as he opened up on his battle with a series of health problems.
The legendary singer, 72, said his greatest fear now is that he’ll no longer be “proficient”, and even admitted his amazement that he’s “still here”.
Clapton, famous for hits including ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and ‘Tears in Heaven’, is suffering from tinnitus. The condition, which affects a number of other well-known names including Barbra Streisand and Phil Collins, occurs when the brain is trying to compensate for a lack of sound and often presents itself as a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ear.
Speaking during a recent interview with BBC Radio 2, Clapton said his biggest concern was being “proficient” now he’s in his seventies. He added: “I mean, I’m going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work. I’m hoping that people will come along and see me just because, or maybe more than because I’m a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself I’m still here.”
Despite his health battles, Clapton insists he will continue to perform live, but will cut his workload in recording studios down enough so he doesn’t “embarrass” himself. In fact, he is preparing to star in England’s British Summertime in Hyde Park later this year.
He spoke out as he promoted new movie Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, which is said to focus on his past and some harder experiences he’s been through. The star explained: “It’s difficult to sit through because it goes on so long about the difficult part of my life. I think it’s important for people to see that there is a happy ending, it’s like a redemption concept. If you are going to go and see it, be prepared for a heavy ride.”
It comes after the singer revealed last year he’s had troubles with his nervous system, as well as eczema which could affect his guitar playing. He was also forced to pull out of two shows due to “severe bronchitis”.
Elsewhere, he opened up on his past alcohol addiction in the tell-all interview, before making the decision to sober up in the late 1980s. “For at least 20 years I was a basket case,” he admitted, according to Rolling Stone, before saying he often drank “a special brew with vodka, because it looked like you were just drinking lager, but you weren’t.”
It comes after a series of celebrities opened up on their own battles with tinnitus. Everyone from Streisand and Collins to Liza Minnelli and William Shatner suffer from it. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, with the most extreme cases reporting a jackhammer sound pounding through their ears or head. Some people living with tinnitus report feelings of isolation, but hearing experts at Australian Hearing say it’s important to remember you’re not alone.