Eric Clapton has revealed that he is losing his hearing.
During an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright on Tuesday, the 72-year-old guitar great admitted that he’s struggling with tinnitus, a ringing in the ear commonly caused by noise-induced hearing loss. Combined with ongoing nerve damage that has affected his back and movement in his hands, he admits that live concerts have become a challenge. Even so, he says he intends to continue performing in 2018.
“I am still going to work. I’m doing a few gigs. I am going to do a show at Hyde Park [British Summer Time Festival] in July,” he says. “The only thing I’m concerned with now is being in my seventies and being able to be proficient. I mean, I’m going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work. I mean, I am hoping that people will come along and see me [for] more than [because] I am a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself that I am still here.”
Clapton is far from the only rock hero afflicted with tinnitus. The Who’s Pete Townshend has also battled the condition, utilizing new technology to continue touring and recording. Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and Neil Young also reportedly suffer variations of hearing loss.
A new documentary, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars — set to premiere on Showtime Feb. 10 — will showcase the icon’s tumultuous life from the highs of rock stardom to the lows of substance abuse and personal tragedy, including the death of his 4-year-old son, Conor, in 1991.
“It’s difficult to sit through because it goes on so long about the difficult part of my life,” he says of the film. “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.”