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will.i.am health: The hearing condition The Voice judge suffers with explained

will.i.am has managed to forge a very successful career within the music industry – both as a singer and a producer. Perhaps best-known for his role in the Black Eyed Peas, the singer is currently a judge on ITV’s The Voice. The musician’s successes come despite him suffering from a condition affecting his hearing. This condition is called tinnitus. But what exactly is it?

I don’t know what silence sounds like anymore. Music is the only thing which eases my pain

will.i.am

According to the NHS, “tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that aren’t caused by an outside source.”

It’s not usually a sign of anything serious and generally improves over time, but symptoms can be very annoying to live with.

Symptoms of tinnitus include hearing sounds that sound like:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Humming
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Music or singing

You may hear these sounds in one or both ears, or in your head. They may come and go, or you might hear them all the time.

“I can’t be still. Work calms me down,” will.i.am told The Sun.

“I can’t be quiet, as that’s when I notice the ringing in my ears.

“There’s always a beep there every day, all day, like now. I don’t know exactly how long I’ve had this, but it’s gradually getting worse.”

According to the NHS, there are treatments which may help to reduce symptoms, which should help to improve the condition over time.

If tinnitus is caused by something treatable, such as an ear infection or build-up of ear wax, your GP will refer you to a specialist for treatment.

10 Facts about tinnitus

Tinnitus: 10 facts about the distressing hearing condition.

30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives

If the cause of your tinnitus is unknown or can’t be treated, your GP or specialist may refer you for therapy to help you cope with the sounds.

The NHS advises seeing a GP if you have tinnitus regularly or constantly, if your tinnitus is getting worse, or if your tinnitus is bothering you – for example, if it’s affecting your sleep or concentration.

will.i.am revealed his tinnitus diagnosis has spurred him to make even more music.

He explained to The Sun: “I don’t know what silence sounds like anymore. Music is the only thing which eases my pain.”

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