Metallica Drummer Lars Ulrich Suffers From Tinnitus

Lars Ulrich (photo © live4ever)

Lars Ulrich (photo © live4ever)

Ipod Generation please pay close attention. Bad boy drummer Lars Ulrich, 46, from heavy metal favorites Metallica has a message for you: Turn your volume down…..

Ulrich has good reason to be giving such advice. In a recent interview with CNN he acknowledged that he suffers from Tinnitus , a condition causing a perception of sound where there is none.

“It’s this constant ringing in the ears,” Ulrich said. “It never sort of goes away. It never just stops.”

“I’ve been playing loud rock music for the better part of 35 years,” he adds “I never used to play with any kind of protection.”

At the start of his career Ulrich played without any kind of protection for his ears and the loud ringing sensation started following him after the concerts were over.

“It’s a phantom auditory sensation like phantom limb pain when an arm is cut off, and you feel pain in that missing limb,” said Richard Salvi, a leading tinnitus expert and director of the Center For Hearing and Wellness at the University at Buffalo in New York. “Much the same seems to happen when you have tinnitus.”

Tinnitus can be persistent or intermittent. It often is perceived as a high-pitched ringing in the ears but also can sound like buzzing, whistling, whooshing or clicking.

Ulrich’s problem got worse back in 1988 during a concert tour as the ringing started bothering him during his sleep.

“I would fall asleep often with the television on, and I would wake up in the middle of the night to go turn the TV off,” Ulrich said. “Except it wasn’t actually on. When I realized that I was doing that frequently, actually getting up to turn the TV off that was not on to begin with, I realized that maybe I had some issues.”

Although the causes of tinnitus are not exactly clear, scientists due point to a common thread: loud noise.

Ulrich is certain that his exposure to loud music levels during his years of touring with Metallica brought on his debilitation . He now wears earplugs while performing and has learned to tolerate his symptoms.

Lars Ulrich (photo © live4ever)

Lars Ulrich (photo © live4ever)

Ulrich points out that the so-called iPod generation, who listen to loud music, and may not be as vigilant about protecting their ears, are at danger if they don’t change their ways.

“If you get a scratch on your nose, in a week that’ll be gone,” Ulrich said. “When you scratch your hearing or damage your hearing, it doesn’t come back. I try to point out to younger kids … once your hearing is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no real remedy.”

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