Ayumi Hamasaki Losing Hearing in Right Ear; Already Deaf in Left Ear

Since the mid-2000s, a huge topic among fans of J-Pop Empress Ayumi Hamasaki has been about the gradually worsening condition of her hearing. From feelings of sorrow, to worry, to being the butt of a joke from haters, as a singer, it has no doubt affected her vocal technique.

Today, the Ayu took to her Team Ayu blog to talk about her current health condition and revealed that her right ear is beginning to weaken after years of compensating for her fully deaf left ear.

After talking about her knee injury recovery, Hamasaki writes:

Just before this year’s tour began I received a second blow – my hearing started to deteriorate further. My semicircular canals had blown, and I was experiencing crippling dizziness. I wasn’t able to walk in a straight line, and was often reduced to vomiting in the restroom at the rehearsal studio. I tried to put a brace face on things, but was told after various hearing tests that my right ear (which had been working overtime to compensate for my deaf left ear) was weakening fast. I don’t have a clear memory of my journey home after that. I just remember wondering how I, as a singer, would cope with two useless ears. Other than that, I was in darkness.

None of this is surprising considering how her left ear got in such awful condition.

During her concert tour 2000 Act 1, Ayu caught a cold accompanied by an ear infection. She was warned by her doctor that she needed to ease up her exposure to loud noises so her ear infection could heal. However, she only spent a few days in the hospital to recover to get back to touring and surrounding herself with loud noises. Being the hard-working and motivated business woman she is, at the top of her game and fame and devoted to her art and the coins, she did not cancel or postpone any tour dates until Act 2.

During performance rehearsals for her DOME TOUR 2001, it was believed that Ayu began suffering tinnitus, a ringing in the ear that is caused by constant exposure to sound.

Despite the numerous warnings for years that she should avoid loud noises and ease up on her immense touring schedule, Ayu continued at full speed. For years to come, she continued her schedule of at least one tour per year, a New Year’s countdown concert event and appearances at a-nation each year.

In 2007, just before the Countdown Live concert celebrating the start of the new year and her 10th anniversary as a singer, Ayu’s ear began bothering her again. She insisted her new ear monitor was bothering her, but expressed privately that she was concerned about the health of her ear.

In late 2008, the condition was deemed irreversible by her doctor. Ayu went to a doctor and was given the unfortunate news that her ear had gone completely deaf, and there was no treatment. She posted on her TeamAyu blog a few days later to notify her fans, promising to continue being a singer regardless and vowed to go ahead with an upcoming tour of Asia.

Nevertheless, I would like to continue as a singer. That’s why I would like to continue singing until I reach the limit with my remaining right ear,” she wrote at the time on her members-only fan site. “I won’t stop. I won’t make excuses. As a professional, I would like to deliver the best performance for everyone.

Feeling lost with the possibility of not being able to do what she loves, a message of encouragement from a friend reminded her who she was. In today’s post, Hamasaki admitted that she should “probably stop performing,” but that isn’t something she is prepared to consider:

The stage is where I belong. It’s the only place I really, truly exist. I don’t know anything else. There’s no point in worrying about what lies ahead. I will keep listening, even if I can’t hear. I will keep moving, evening if I can’t move. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity. I will hold my head high and keep going forward until my last breath.

The reality of the situation brings on mixed feelings: Ayumi Hamasaki’s outlook and dedication to what she loves doing is both commendable and inspirational, but at the same time, her determination to actively work against her health is entirely distressing.

Selling over 50 million records throughout her career, making her best-selling Japanese solo artist of all time, she has definitely changed the landscape of the music scene in Japan but it’s incredibly disheartening to think about her career’s impending expiration date.

(via @Megawarrior345’s Twitlonger/truehappiness’s @ AHS translation of Team Ayu’s Post, BBC news)

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Comments

  • Dylan

    Honestly surprised Arama didn’t take this news as an opportunity to mock and belittle Ayumi, but then again give it time and I’m sure they will find some way to criticize her

    • BAD KID

      good thing ayumi doesn’t make it easy for people to do that 2 her!
      http://i.imgur.com/BpU6Ae7.jpg

      • honey girl

        bbaw ❤

      • HyperMoot .

        woah, caught the bus late and missed that, I was sure you would lurk around, Flat Brick. Why don’t you post a picture of yourself instead. btw, how was your trip to Thailand?

        • BAD KID

          lmao

          • HyperMoot .

            you forgot the ink ending, puerco de mierda

            • BAD KID

              lmao

              • HyperMoot .

                too bad you haven’t yet choked to death because of LMAO suffocation, nazi kkkunt.

                • BAD KID

                  Lmao.

    • honey girl

      They already did..the whole article is basically “Don’t show her any sympathy. She brought it on herself.”

      • Girl don’t even try it

        • honey girl

          It’s already been tried and convicted. That long-winded ass article was the receipts needed to close the case.

          • Sorry that you only choose to believe things that follow your own twisted, negative narrative. I’m a long time Ayumi fan and I’ll pray for love & light to come into your life ❤

      • Bubi.

        do ur arms hurt from reaching? did they dislocate?

        • honey girl

          They reached far enough to pull the curtains close on yet another messy article by these soulless ass mods.

          • Bubi.

            great! hopefully you can then reach into your ass and pull out whatever is lodged up there and making you so pissy

      • Kirby

        But did she not bring it on herself? She has been ignoring her doctors orders for almost two decades.

    • Bubi.

      Cool for you for being negative instead then. Glad to know your care about Ayu’s condition. Lol!

      • Dylan

        I think its kind of obvious that I care about her condition given that I clicked on the article and was the first to comment. I have been a fan of hers since the mid 00s and its sad to hear this.

    • HyperMoot .

      ahaha right, I think they’re just bracing for their next Utada effort, bank on them

  • BAD KID

    but this is sad for real! currently doing her longest tour rn…STOP

  • Bubi.

    has she ever relaxed?

  • ʕ→ᴥ←ʔ

    what’s with the ugly flashing light siren gif? o.o

    • honey girl

      Arama’s budget could only afford Adobe PS2.

      • Would you like to donate to us?

        • HyperMoot .

          ?? is it possible to donate to Arama ?? not kidding.

      • How are you gonna insult someone when you aren’t even factually correct? Like sis, do better.

  • honey girl

    Another shameless article from Arama (Ronald). I make fun Ayu at times but always in a respectful manner. Yall really need to know when to cut the shittiness.

    Anyways, this is really some f’d up news. Ayu’s life has not been a pleasant one in the last decade. I know she doesn’t want pity but I just feel like she hasn’t truly been happy. Music has been her thing and now it’s slowly being taken away from her. It’s just a sad sight. One of the jpop greats doesn’t deserve this.

    • A song for

      Not you acting holier than thou when you have continued to stink up various j-pop communities for a decade now. I remember you on AHS, got kicked out of Matteo and Erik’s group oops. They have all moved on and yet here you still are…pretending to give a damn about Ayumi.

      go wax Utada’s mustache

      • Midna

        SCREAMING

        • A song for

          I almost feel bad for her. Tried so very hard to be apart of the “troll” group, but they would just laugh at her behind her back for being illiterate among other things. Seeing as she thought Ronald posted this I guess not much has changed

          oh well, you reap what you sow.

          • honey girl

            Aww are you still mad at the fact that I called you a pedophile that lives in the slums of Wyoming? Sweetie, please tell Arama how you were a 33 year-old in group chats with 15 – 16 year-olds? You asked for my number and I said no in which you started throwing racial slurs at me. It’s really something that you are still being creepy and literally stalking me all these years later on another forum. smh

            • A song for

              Like I’d ever associate myself with the people you so desperately tried (and failed) to become friends with

              Don’t know what all that other dribble is, I’m not your psychiatrist sweetie

              • honey girl

                Okay R. Kelly

                • Y2J

                  Take the L

                  log off

                  • honey girl

                    I left for a few hours, came back, and you and the other 10+ up voters are still bothered. Didn’t think Arama and co was that bitter about me. Literally no L to be taken.

                    • Kusen Goto

                      Except the fact that you’re 27 years old and still acting like this online. Yikes. Sounds like a loss to me.

                    • honey girl

                      Umm but It’s been how many years and yall are in your 30s still doing secret jpop group chats and using Anon accounts…on Arama…of all places. All this effort just to keep tabs on me to tell strangers online. Sweetie, yall are just pitiful. 💅

                    • Kusen Goto

                      I don’t know who you think you’re talking to nor do I even know who you’re talking about. I just have been reading your messy ass comments from AHS and aramatheydidnt over the years. It’s not keeping tabs if I’m passively remembering information about commenters, but for you, it seems as if not much has changed. At all.

                      It’s funny to see your ass served to you. You continue lack ANY self awareness and are still acting ~holier than you~ when you’re posted up here CONSTANTLY with your anti-arama, anti-Ronald brigades, and the same dated insults and drags over and over. Don’t you get tired? Aren’t you bored? You seem bothered. Have some tact. Get a clue. Find a productive hobby. Go to church.

      • Bubi.

        darling this is chamomile tea

        http://i.imgur.com/VIwX5YA.gif

        • honey girl

          Great Value unsweetened tea*

      • honey girl

        YAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS SIS! EAT, BREATHE, AND DREAM ABOUT ME! I adore my Honeys. ❤

      • Rbe

        This is sadder than the actual post

      • soup cans
        • utada’s moustache is the most beautiful thing to grace this earth

      • Amy

        These comments gave me whiplash lol

    • Midna

      Ronald likes Ayu though (or used to). And this was translated by someone else I believe though the source died o_o

    • Bubi.

      detail how this post is shitty besides the comments you’re littering below it and your attitude

      • honey girl

        Go pop your zit, creature!

        • Bubi.

          help me with the ones on my back first hun

          • honey girl

            I don’t touch filth sweetie!

            • Bubi.

              i guess that explains why you haven’t showered in years

              • honey girl

                No, that’s just you smelling your upper lip from all that ass munching.

    • I had nothing to do with this. Was busy making coin.

  • Bongerong

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO ;”(

  • Kaido

    I just don’t know why people hate her so much now, she was the Queen of Jpop. Her legacy is undeniable. Started to listen to Japanese songs again because of Hikki’s comeback and I’m quite surprised with Ayu’s decline in sales and reputation.

    • Bongerong

      She will always be the Queen of Jpop in my heart! I started listening to her music since 90s!

      • Kaido

        Same with me since 1999 I guess when Ayu and Hikki totally dominating the Jpop music scene.

    • Rve

      Her impact is undeniable. She is a true legend.

    • It’s a mixture of overexposure, a decline in musical quality, and a messy personal life.

      • Kaido

        That’s unfortunate. Maybe a good long break will do a lot of good for her health and state of mind.

    • Amy

      No one stays on top forever. I’ve followed her in the past in the most casual way (more of a rock fan), so I didn’t realize how much people where taking the piss with her until fairly recently.

  • Midna

    This is so sad. She’s my favourite act of all time. :( Ayu, please take care…

  • yacchaitai

    So she has been doing the exact opposite of what every doctor has ever told her for 17 something years? Why?

  • Bongerong

    Queen, please take care of yourself! T-T

  • chu

    retire

  • She’s done it — becoming the most successful solo act ever in Japan, releasing music and touring non-stop and etc. She should stop before she lose it all.

    She still can release 1 single per year or one album every 3 years. That way, she still can do the thing she love the most which is singing while not exposing her hearing to loud sound consistently. She’s still young, have babies and its not worth to be completely deaf just because you love your job way too much.

  • Dayse

    Oh man…this is heartwrenching! And seeing some comments here, guys, before she´s a singer, she´s a HUMAN BEING with fears, insecurities and dreams, as for her, as a singer, this borders tragedy.

    Audition loss can impact someone´s life a lot, my mom lost 40% of one of her ear´s audition and sometimes when she´s participating of conversations, she stays out of it because she doesn´t understand them fully and feels shy about asking people to repeat themselves or talk louder, this is sad!! Sometimes people tell me *your mom is quiet* but it´s not always the case, sometimes she just can´t hear them. :(

    I do hope Ayu can somehow stop this, really, I feel so bad for her.

  • S.

    lmao at the unnecessary drama in these comments. Get a life you losers

  • Taima-kun

    Ayumi should probably call it quits
    what else does she have to achieve in her career when she’s already a legend
    it would definitely be hard to accept but she can’t just continue being stubborn and compromise her health further
    listen (no pun intended) to what your body is saying please

    • Angry Bert

      I think for her it’s her pride as well. She doesn’t know any other kind of life. Facing your own limits is terrifying for all of us, let alone someone in the public eye facing all that judgement.

      • circe154

        Yeah, she’s been working since she was a little kid, she doesn’t know anything else.

  • jjaeyumixx

    what’s with the title of this news?
    SHE HAS NOT COMPLETELY DEAF YET!!!

    it only said that her right ear has gotten worse but not yet DEAF!
    please change the title!

    • it doesn’t say she is completely deaf. The -ing in becoming means that is an ongoing action and has not reached the state of deaf yet.

  • She needs to throw in the towel for her own health’s sake.

  • guestter

    There are not enough middle fingers to all of the people mocking and disrespecting this ICON. Give respect where it’s due! Ayu has earned it.

    • FoucaultAnderson

      Somebody tell Ronald to stop being such a bitch about her

  • Jay

    Oh man, that’s gotta be hard for Ayu. I’ve always enjoyed her music and even though I’m only a casual fan, I hope she takes some time to truly consider her next move. She could always get cochlear implants to restore her hearing but she’d probably never be able to do a live concert again if she did that. It’s such a shame that she let it go on unchecked for this long though.

  • salt

    :( i’ll always have a fond spot for her. she was the one of the very first jpop artist that i got to know!

  • baymon

    If only she stopped for a while and seeks proper treatment before it’s too late, she could have continued for decades. Continuing work at the expense of health is not professionalism, it’s irresponsible. It just shows her deep insecurities with her position as an artist. I know that the industry is harsh and taking a break might mean lost of opportunities. But it’s not always the case. Look at Utada,she’s been doing well with her comeback.

    • Fadingstar

      This might be inferring to much, but I always thought it wasn’t because of her insecurities, but rather the fact that Max Matsura was the first person to tell her that he had talent in some thing (writing lyrics) and to her that was everything. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that she didn’t trust anyone and kept viewing herself as a disposable pop idol. When the company made her make “A Best” she was devastated because she thought that that was it for her, she was going to get canned after. She doesnt have the same kind of security as Utada. Her dad isn’t a famous producer.

      • PigeonPop

        Teruzane is hardly famous. The only successful venture he had in the industry until Automatic/Time Will Tell was being part of Joe Hisaishi’s writing team in the late 80s. That’s literally all he had to his credit back then. Keiko Fuji, while legendary as an enka singer, had little to no industry power either by the time Hikki had her major debut (Toshiba EMI was the only major label that was interested; it’s well-known and rather ironic that Sony rejected her during the Cubic U days). Having the parents run an independent jimusho to take care of initial investments and PR (instead of letting the label handle everything) is quite risky; it only looks secure in retrospect because her major debut release was successful right from the bat, and she took advantage of it to call the shots early on–no fanclubs (pretty much unheard of for a big-name J-artist), no extensive touring, no rushed releases.

        I wouldn’t call Ayu irresponsible but I do feel that she was swallowed by her fame and and perhaps a little too dedicated to the whole “Team Ayu” concept that included her fans and supporting dancers/musicians/staff. As a pop star, I don’t think this is a bad thing, but she sacrificed a lot (maybe too much) for it. A Best really was the time for her to take better control of her career but what’s done is done.

    • circe154

      Or maybe she accounted for 40% of Avex’s profits at the time and was being pushed to ignore her long term health for short term gains; because that’s really common in the industry.

    • Summersplash

      I kinda agree.. Your vocal and hearing are essential for a singer. Whatever the reason was, it couldn’t have been more important than the two things that she needs a singer. Her label should’ve done something.. Max should’ve put a stop on it, and let’s be real.. He COULD back then

  • Karen Khoo

    I didn’t know she could only hear with one ear. Oh dear…. now she has to lose another one.
    It will be difficult to continue to sing and listen to music but Beethoven could do it so it’s not impossible!

  • Punk Princess

    My god this is awful to read about. Ive been an Ayu fan since 2008 and its devastating that this is how her career may end. I just pray for the best for Ayumi.

  • Sherrynity

    ……………wow what the hell? She was the artist that made me interested with Jpop when I was a grade schooler, along with Utada Hikaru. As the time goes by, I stopped looking for news about her then today I accidentally saw this article on my newsfeed and I’m just……… baffled.

    I hope she can be strong… facing this adversity.

  • Guest

    The only sad thing is this – ignoring doctor’s advice, and now doing her longest tour ever with 60 concerts. There’s nothing else that’s sad in this article.

  • Ayumi Hamasaki

    Ayumi Hamasaki is one of the very few singers I call an artist and that I truly respect and admire. She is an human being with a very kind heart that always wanted people to find comfort and happiness through her music, from her beautiful, introspective lyrics to the compositions and performances. It took her some time, but now she is more free than ever and still continues to fight for her own perspectives about how her music should be like and that’s one of the best things about her.

    I’m not here to question the reasons why she didn’t take in enough consideration what her doctors said. It’s her passion to perform and sing her music and perhaps contractual reasons that could affect her career.

    She doesn’t deserve any of the hate she receives. Nothing people say bad about her is justified – from hateful comments about her body to questioning her whole career based her personal, normal life to on one or two performances she wasn’t at her best and also what she decides to wear. One thing is not liking what she did here or there, but there’s a difference between an opinion and hate. And the ones who are hating on her are the exact same ones who once loved her music when she her career was at its peak, who felt happy playing her music and buying her albums (even if it what just to tell others they had bought it), the ones who wanted to wear something she wore and buy what she was advertising on her various CMs because they wanted to feel that cool. Yet the only difference between her at her peak and now is just that now there are other popular, young acts that don’t even work as hard as did then that people prefer to say they like just to feel like they are a part of society, the same one that more than once was influenced by her image.

    I just visit this website because it is the only one that talks about Japanese music in general, but it is constantly disrespecting and hating on her for no reason. It is the same website that writes big articles about how this new, “indie” act is the best thing that happened in J-music since the previous one talked on a previous article and exaggerates on the compliments and the reviews of their songs and right after that writes an articles with always unnecesary, hateful comments on Ayumi Hamasaki based on her clothes, on photoshop on her photos, on her new songs just because they are not copies of other popular songs by her, … That isn’t freedom of expression, it isn’t funny, it is nothing but hatred and it is shameful. Is your self-steem that low that you can’t write something without wanting others’ approval just because it is easier to hate?

  • Dalooshe

    All the love for the Empress of Jpop.
    If anything I ever posted about her and wanted her to read it would be that she should take care of herself. History never forgets legends.

  • maguro part deux

    Too bad. Hearing loss is definitely an occupational hazard for pop musicians, the human ear did not evolve to tolerate the sound level of a moden concert venue.

  • Kusen Goto

    do you mean beethoven? i see parallels tbh

  • This is so sad to hear. :( Ayu….

  • Brett
    • Girl… That’s just low.

    • relmy

      I feel bad for laughing :(

  • Totokoko

    The saddest part was that this was preventable, while I do admire her work ethic, she needs to put her health first. And I’m pretty sure any sane fan of hers would want her to do so too.

  • relmy

    Why are people so obsessed with Ayu having babies?

    • Midna

      Because people assume all women want babies.

  • Mary Daniella Peterson

    Love how my comment wasn’t published. I tend to read birth charts for fun and provide insight on why perhaps these Jpop singers like Ayu are becoming irrelevant…but nevermind then. On to Onehallyu

    • No one removed your comment. I checked the pending comments and the auto-spam comments and I don’t see a post from you. Perhaps it didn’t go through? I added your account to the trusted users list just in case.

    • Oh, I see it now. It just got sent to the spam filter because Disqus marked it as a suspicious Guest comment. I just approved it though.

      • HyperMoot .

        Shock! “It just got sent to the spam filter because Disqus marked it as a suspicious Guest comment” who’s in charge of the settings for that spam filter? The whole site is paved with comments from people called ‘lol’, ‘burps’, ‘guest’, ‘blip’ and many more.

        • No one is “in charge” of it. We don’t control what Disqus marks as spam as it’s based off their own algorithm, and I’ve already turned off as many settings as I possibly can to show as many comments as possible without having to moderate them. It calculates how “suspicious” a comment is based on its word choice, if it has links, if the user has a low-rated comment history, and if the associated e-mail is confirmed within their system. If you don’t comment with an account or as a guest comment with a confirmed email, which her original comment did not, it’s more likely to get caught in the spam filter.

          https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466223-who-deleted-or-removed-my-comment-

          • HyperMoot .

            ok, thx for the explanation

    • Queen_Of_The_Yokai537

      I would love to read that comment!!! I read tarot cards (about 10 years now) but I am now learning Astrology. I would love to read your insight into Ayu’s career.

  • deebosco
  • vorpax

    I find interesting that her fans use the “she’s so hardworking!” argument to condone this stupidity, because being like this is precisely the reason her career is on downhill for years now.
    Quantity over quality.

  • HyperMoot .

    and Pete Townshend from the Who

  • HyperMoot .

    sad for her, on the other hand the comment section is quite entertaining, it’s been a while.

  • Mint

    My heart breaks for Ayu. Its apparent that music is a huge part in her life no matter what. This to me shows so much in an artist.. show some respect. She doesn’t care whether she’s relevant as long as she’s continuing to do what she loves. I can’t speak for her, this is how it seems to me. I’ve been a huge fan of her’s since 2002 and I can say I haven’t listened to her new content for a few years but she will always be my favorite artist. This woman takes pride in her passion, music, and fans.

  • Queen_Of_The_Yokai537

    WONDERFUL astrological insight! Makes 100% sense. I have been a fan of her and her work since the 5th grade, and like you her music got me through some shit too. Like you said, it is her environment. I really hope that for her sake she stops and reflects on what is best for her.

  • あゆファン

    This is devastating for me :'( and must be for her as well, so stop hating on her!!! She doesn’t deserve hatred since she is a J-Pop icon, ergo, she must be surely an influence for the new idols and the upcoming ones…
    Ayufans are using the hashtag #WeLoveYouAyu to support her♥ we want to let her know that we will be there for her whatever happens♥ if you are an Ayufan too or just want to help use it!!! (preferably on Twitter) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba0ea29200e60db3ba2639b8148616cc85ad1704ec8ed6b1233a0495763604c2.jpg

  • WorldGN18

    I dk how to feel about this, I really would like her to take better car of her health but at this point I guess is not worth it anymore? I know she is not looking for pity but I feel bad for her

  • nels nellis

    She should just take a break and come back once fully heal and only do smaller tour… it is so japanese to make it over dramatic and actually not quite mature to keep going. Any athletes when in deep pain usually take a long rest in order to come back stronger it is just common sens. Singer like Celine dion had in the past huge issue with her throat and she would usually take weeks of break not even talking in order to preserve her voice and keep going like she does now.

    I mean why would she push herself that bad… i love Ayumi but that is kind of stupid and her team to let her do that ttoo herself are just as stupid.

    JUST take a fucking rest!!! i mean you she has been releasiing music non-stop every years since ages a break would not only help her with her health issue but also to comeback with something creative.