Ayumi Hamasaki – Deafness in Music

A microphone with lights shining behind it.

Ayumi Hamasaki is a Japanese singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, model, spokesperson, and entrepreneur. She is considered one of the best selling Japanese solo artists of all time and is nicknamed the “Empress of Pop”.

In the mid-2000, Ayumi Hamasaki started to gradually go deaf in her left ear. In 2008, her hearing loss was deemed irreversible by her doctor after ignoring warnings that she should avoid loud noises and ease up on her touring schedule.

In May of 2017, her right ear started to weaken.

“I was told after various hearing tests that my right ear (which has been working overtime to compensate for the deafness of my left ear) is quickly weakening,” Hamasaki wrote.

Musicians with Hearing Loss

Many famous musicians are faced with this issue during their career. Some of the musicians that join Hamasaki on this list are: 

  • Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters
  • Huey Lewis
  • Pete Townshend
  • Roger Daltry
  • Alice Cooper
  • Neil Young
  • Ozzy Osborne
  • And many more.

Many of these musicians end up with tinnitus, which is described by the National Institue of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders as  “the perception of sound that does not have an external source, so other people cannot hear it. Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing sound, but some people hear other types of sounds, such as roaring or buzzing.”

Deaf vs. deaf

It’s important to note that Ayumi Hamasaki, and many famous singers who have become deaf due to their career do not identify with the Deaf community. The capital “D” Deaf community refers to the cultural Deaf community. They instead view deafness as a hearing status/ medical terminology without a culture or language attached to it.

Ayumi Hamasaki Now

While many have speculated that Hamasaki may retire soon due to her hearing loss, she is still creating music. She just released a new single on April 8th called BYE-BYE and posted much of the behind the scenes footage of filming the music video on her social media channels.

You can view it here:

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