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Huey Lewis opens up about the hearing loss that forced him to cancel his tour

Huey Lewis attends the "Back To The Future"

Huey Lewis attends the "Back To The Future" 25th anniversary reunion in New York in 2010.  Credit: AP/Peter Kramer

Huey Lewis, whose songs helped define the soundtrack of the '80s, says the hearing loss that forced him to cancel his concert tour in April may leave him unable to sing professionally again.

"As I walked to the stage" of an unspecified show in Dallas, Texas, earlier this year, "it sounded like there was a jet engine going on. I knew something was going wrong," the New York-born Lewis, 67, said Monday  on NBC's "Today." "I couldn't find pitch. Distorted. Nightmare," he said. 

He explained that, "Even though I can hear you, we can talk [and] I can talk on the phone … I can't sing, I can't hear music. So I can do everything but what I love to do the most, which is a drag."

On April 13, Lewis tweeted that he was suffering from the hearing disorder Ménière's disease, and "the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this, and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who've already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I'm going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again." No shows appear to have been scheduled in the New York City / Long Island area.

"The bad news about Ménière's," Lewis said Monday, "is that they don't know what it is. It's a syndrome based on symptoms, and it affects people differently. And all they can come up with as a treatment is diet: No caffeine, lower salt, and keep your fingers crossed."

While there is no known cure, he said, "The good news is, it can get better. It just hasn't yet."

In a segment of the interview that was not aired but  was published on the "Today" website, Lewis added: "I haven't come to grips with the fact that I may never sing again. I'm still hoping I'm gonna get better. They say a positive attitude is important."

Huey Lewis and the News have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, according to "Today.” Their hits include "The Power of Love," featured prominently in the sci-fi comedy classic "Back to the Future" (1985), as well as "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "I Want a New Drug," "If This Is It," all from the 1983 album “Sports." He said in August that the band was working on a new album for release this year.

In February, plans were announced for a Broadway musical based on the band's songs.

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