Lewis, 67, appeared on the "Today" show Monday to speak about his sudden hearing loss, which he confirmed was Meniere's disease. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Ménière's disease is an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears and a feeling of congestion in the ear.
“As I walked to the stage (in Dallas), it sounded like there was a jet engine going on,” Lewis said. “I knew something was wrong. I couldn't find pitch. Distorted. Nightmare. It’s cacophony.”
“Even though I can hear you, we can talk, I can talk on the phone — I can't sing. I can’t hear music. I can do everything but what I love to do the most, which is a drag.”
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Lewis consulted multiple doctors before it was determined he had Meniere’s disease.
“The bad news about Meniere’s is, they don't know what it is,” he said. “It’s a syndrome based on symptoms, and it affects people differently. All they can come up with as treatment is diet. No caffeine, lower salt and keep your fingers crossed.
“There is not (a cure), but the good news is it can get better. It just hasn’t yet.”
“I haven’t come to grips with the fact that I may never sing again,” Lewis said. “I’m still hoping I’m gonna get better. They say a positive attitude is important.”
Lewis, who is finishing up an album and developing a Broadway show based on his music, is working with the Starkey Hearing Foundation on experimental treatments to help him filter out noise to find pitch.
Watch Lewis' interview on Meniere's disease below.