Eric Clapton says he'll keep doing live concerts this year, though he admits it's become increasingly challenging. One, because nerve damage has given him back trouble and made it hard for his hands to work their magic on his guitar strings, he told BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright on Tuesday. Two, because he may have taken the "if it's too loud, you're too old" mantra too seriously in his younger years: The 72-year-old rock legend revealed he's got noise-induced hearing loss that's causing an annoying ringing in his ears. "The only thing I'm concerned with now is being in my 70s and being able to be proficient," he tells Wright, via People. "I mean, I'm going deaf, I've got tinnitus, my hands just about work."
The Mayo Clinic notes short-term exposure to music at a loud concert can lead to temporary tinnitus, but permanent damage can occur when a musician like Clapton subjects himself to earsplitting performance after performance. People points out other big-name artists have also been said to have hearing loss, including Sting, Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, and Pete Townshend. Still, Clapton says "I'm doing a few gigs" in 2018, per Billboard, and that he hopes people will keep coming to watch him play—and not just because he's a "curiosity." Still, he acknowledges that curiosity status "is part of it, because it's amazing to myself that I am still here."