Musicians are at risk for deafness due to loud music. Sixty percent of inductees into the rock and roll Hall of Fame have lost hearing due to loud music. Thirty-seven percent of rock musicians are partially deaf. Intense noise or chronic exposure to loud sound damages hair cells in the inner ear as well as in the inferior colliculus, the part of the brain where neurons carrying impulses from the hair cells make their first connection. Brain cells die from overstimulation and then astrocytes digest away the damaged synapses. (Fields, R. Douglas, PhD. The Other Brain. p 98-100. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009.)

Hearing music in one’s imagination activated the auditory cortex almost as powerfully as in subjects who actually heard the music performed. This may be one reason Beethoven could still compose music even after becoming deaf. (Lynch, Zack, PhD., with Byron Laursen. The Neuro Revolution, p. 124-126. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.)