Back to the Future Day: Huey Lewis makes appearance at musical
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The 80s icon formed part of the band Huey Lewis And The News, but while compiling an album, Lewis realised his hearing had “collapsed”. In a tell-all interview, the 72-year-old revealed he has “lost 80 percent of the hearing in [his] right ear”. Diagnosed with Ménière’s disease more than 25 years ago, Lewis had already been experiencing symptoms associated with the condition 10 years prior to that.
“I’ve been having vertigo attacks for 35 years, and I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease 25 years ago,” Lewis clarified.
“Now my hearing still fluctuates. I measure it on a scale of one to 10,” he said.
“If it’s six and I have hearing aids in, I can hear speech for sure, and I can hear the phone and TV OK.
“Can I sing? Maybe. But I can’t book a rehearsal, because if it goes to a two, then I can’t hear anything.”
Lewis described the condition as more of a “syndrome” than a disease, “which means [people] really don’t know much about it”.
The inner ear condition causes “sudden” attacks of vertigo, tinnitus, pressure felt deep within the ear, and hearing loss, the NHS explains.
Vertigo is the term to describe when the room feels as though it is spinning, when it’s really not.
Tinnitus, which is another symptom of Ménière’s disease, is when you can hear a ringing nose inside of the ear that is not audible to other people.
In attempts to restore his hearing, Lewis “tried all sorts of holistic stuff”, he told the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in August 2021.
Lewis tried everything “from acupuncture to chiropractics, to cranial massage to supplements, and all kinds of herbs”.
“Nothing seems to work,” Lewis stated. “Zero. It’s such a crazy inner ear disorder. The first six months tormented me. But you can get used to anything.”
Lewis added: “There’s evidence that the intense vertigo bouts can abate. I think I’ve almost outgrown the vertigo.
“Vertigo is the worst. The world’s spinning. You just throw up, curl up in a ball, take a Valium, lie in bed and sleep. Then you might not have another bout for years.”
Other symptoms of Ménière’s disease, as pointed out by the NHS, can include:
- Feeling dizziness with a spinning sensation (vertigo)
- Feeling unsteady on your feet
- Feeling sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit)
- Hearing ringing, roaring or buzzing inside your ear
- Having a sudden drop in hearing.
“These symptoms typically happen all at once and can last minutes or hours, but most commonly last two to three hours,” the health body adds.
The condition typically begins in one ear, but it can spread to both ears over time.
“Attacks can happen in clusters, or several times a week, or they may be separated by weeks, months or years,” the NHS says.
While there is no cure for the condition, medication can be prescribed to help control vertigo, nausea, and vomiting.
As to the exact cause of this condition, this is still unknown, but there are a combination of facts that could lead to Ménière’s disease, such as:
- Poor fluid drainage in your ear
- An immune system disorder
- A viral infection, such as meningitis
- A family history of Ménière’s disease
- A head injury
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