Louis Walsh is going deaf after years of listening to boy bands and their screaming fans.
The former X Factor judge who managed Boyzone and Westlife has had the damage confirmed and may one day need a hearing aid.
He told the Mail on Sunday that he first noticed when he struggled to hear acts during live auditions for the talent show alongside Mel B, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell.
“I was trying to look at them because when I could see their faces I was able to lip-read. I could always hear Mel though! She’s loud,” he said.
The music mogul, 63, said he booked a hearing test after his fellow judges started mocking him for asking what they were saying.
His audiologist, Nick Taylor of Specsavers Hearing Centres, confirmed that a lifetime of noisy concerts in the music world had taken effect.
He said: “Together with the natural wear and tear that occurs in our ears as we age, his hearing has been damaged as a result.’
The expert said that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels could cause problems and he estimated that X Factor sound levels peaked at 120 decibels.
But Walsh believes he might not be the only X Factor judge with a hearing problem.
He added: ‘I know Simon will really take the mickey out of me for this but I’m sure my ears are as good as his. He’s getting old too.”