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Willie Nelson

Ryan Adams is out of the fire

Ryan Adams is out of the fire

Ménière's disease is an inflammation of the inner ear. Specifically, a swelling in the tubes of the ear canal that control the body's balance. No one knows its cause, but stress, exhaustion and substance abuse are among the factors thought to contribute. Its symptoms include nausea, physical disorientation and occasionally debilitating bouts of tinnitus and the loss of hearing at certain frequencies. There is no known treatment.

For an average person, Ménière's is irritating. For musicians, it can be the end of a livelihood, even a loss of their identity. Sounds actually disappear.

For the singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, who was diagnosed with the...