According to his website, the 60-year-old guitarist said his studio headphones caused the ringing in his ears. "I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal proponents deaf."
Pete Townshend, who discovered his hearing damage in the 70s, is currently writing a new album in preparation for a tour later this year. He also wrote, "My ears are ringing, loudly. My own particular kind of damage was caused by using earphones in the recording studio, not playing loud on stage." He must take painstaking 36-hour hearing rests while recording.
"Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired," he wrote. "If you use an iPod or anything like it, or your child uses one, you may be OK. It may only be studio earphones that cause bad damage."
"The downside may be that on our computers - for privacy, for respect to family and co-workers, and for convenience - we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound."
It is clear that hearing damage will increase as portable music devices become more widely used. Those young artists that depend on studio headphones for developing their work should learn to take frequent breaks now and try to avoid extended periods of intensive music listening. Although it might affect the creative process, it will help avoid potential hearing problems in the future.