Huey Lewis on Hearing Loss: 'I Was Suicidal'

His band no longer performs but is coming out with a new album next year
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2019 5:30 PM CST
Huey Lewis on Hearing Loss: 'I Was Suicidal'
Singer Huey Lewis cheers before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Huey Lewis and the News used to do an average of 75 shows per year, but Lewis can no longer perform after being diagnosed last year with Ménière’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that causes fluctuating hearing loss. "This [pointing to his ear] has ruined everything," the 69-year-old singer says in a wide-ranging interview with the Whitefish Review literary journal. "This has absolutely ruined everything. I try not to let it get me down. In the first two months of this, I was suicidal. I can honestly share that with you. I thought, s---, I’m just going to commit suicide. I actually contemplated my demise. You know, like pills. I figured pills were the easiest way to go. I mean, would I have? I don’t know." He goes through periods where his hearing is better and then periods where it declines again, he explains, noting he's been able to sing twice during good periods.

"This is now a year and eight months, and it’s awful," he says. "I can’t hear music. It’s hard enough to hear speech. But music is impossible. The music is cacophony for me." He can't perform because "if I book a gig, I have to book it a month in advance," he explains. "And I don’t know what’s going to happen a month from now. So that’s the hard part. So I can’t work and I miss that. I miss the guys. The camaraderie and the fun thing we had. I don’t miss doing five shows a week. I don’t miss traveling all over the place." The support he's gotten from fans, however, has been "amazing," he says. The band is out with a new album next year, its first in a decade, and it just released the first song from that album, "Her Love Is Killin’ Me." Says Lewis, "The album only has 7 songs on it because that’s all we had recorded when my hearing went to crap." See the full interview here. (More Huey Lewis stories.)

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