Huey Lewis’ hearing loss a reminder that sound levels can be serious, local experts say

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Huey Lewis is canceling his upcoming 2018 tour due to hearing loss, saying hearing himself sing during performances is difficult. But experts say music doesn't top the list of issues that contribute to the problem.

Weekly chores and hobbies can also put your hearing at risk.

Sporting events, lawn mowers and even the sound of a shotgun can leave a ringing in your ear, which, experts say, is something you shouldn't ignore.

"Anything that you've been exposed to that leaves your ears ringing afterwards has done damage," said Larry Brethower, clinic director of Hearing Health Associates.

"There's several musicians that have come out, and started talking about their demise, because they didn't use hearing protection," Brethower said.

Like Lewis who may have developed Meniere's Disease, which can cause ringing in the ears and hearing loss.

"I'm sad that it occurred, but it`s very common with musicians," Brethower said.

What's even more common are the sounds we hear every day.

"I hope everyone takes away -- protect your hearing. It's the most preventable activity you can do for the third-most chronic condition in the United States for the elderly," Brethower said.

Fifty pairs of earplugs can set you back around $10, but that's much less than the thousands it could cost if you have irreversible hearing damage.

Brethower said earplugs can make all these activities more enjoyable because your ears aren't hurting.

"It makes it more pleasant, and hearing protection doesn't block out all the sound, it simply reduces the loudness of the sound by about 30 decibels," Brethower said.

He said your hearing is just as important as anything else you do for your health, so get a hearing test when you can because when the sound fades -- it can't come back.

"With the blood pressure, diabetes monitoring, all these different things that they do -- hearing tests need to be right in there with them," Brethower said.

Hearing Health Associates will give a free hearing test to anyone who references this story at any one of their five metro locations: Independence, Lee's Summit, Liberty and two KCMO locations.