Huey Lewis Recalls Thinking His Hearing Had Returned — and Being Crushed Days Later

The '80s rocker was diagnosed in 2018 with Meniere's disease, an inner-ear disorder that causes hearing loss

Huey Lewis had just come to terms with the heartbreaking fact that Mienere’s disease had robbed him of his ability to hear and sing. Then, just as quickly as it vanished, his hearing returned.

It was October 2018, nine months after his diagnosis. Lewis, an avid golfer, was in Scotland to play an annual Pro-Am tour. While attending a soundcheck for a post-game concert, he realized that he heard the sound of music. “I’d just gone down to say hello, but I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I can kind of hear pitch!’ I could tell where they were [in the song].” After some coaxing from the other musicians, Lewis climbed onstage later that night. “I hadn’t sung in nine months. I sang ’Hip to be Square’ and I was okay. They play quietly and boom, it worked.”

The experience was rejuvenating, and filled him with hope that the effects of Meniere’s might be subsiding for good. Emboldened, he set about making plans to resume touring and making music. “Then, two days later, my hearing went to crap. Couldn’t hear anything for two weeks.”

Huey Lewis is seen at Huey Lewis Portrait Session at AP Studios on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019, in New York
Brian Ach/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The wild fluctuations are one of the cruelest parts of the illness. “It can get so bad that I can’t hear the phone ring. Those periods can last as long as a week or eight days. I’m really basically deaf. I can hear if you’re a person talking right here maybe, but that’s it. With my hearing pieces, I can hear speech fine. But music is not so easy.“

Still, he tries to look on the bright side. “You have to stay positive,“ he says. “You can’t stress over this. I just try and stay creative. When I think of new creative stuff, that makes me feel better.“

RELATED VIDEO: Huey Lewis Has Remained Positive After Hearing Loss: ‘I’ve Always Been a Cup Half Full Guy’

On Feb. 14, he’ll release Weather, the first new album of original Huey Lewis & the News material in 19 years.

They were in the midst of recording when Lewis received his diagnosis. “I waited, trying to see if I was going to be able to sing again, and I haven’t been able to. So we thought we’d release the record and share with the fans,” he says.

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