Experts say that Ozzy Osbourne's singing voice could be negatively affected by his Parkinson's disease diagnosis.
The BLACK SABBATH frontman revealed on Tuesday (January 21) in an interview on "Good Morning America" that he was diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition. The singer received the diagnosis last February after several health issues, including a near-deadly staph infection and a fall that damaged his nervous system. He's treating the disease with medication.
Dr. Rachel Dolhun, vice president for Medical Communications at the Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research, told Forbes that patients often experience difficulties with speech and swallowing while battling the disease. "It does this by affecting the way the vocal cords and swallowing muscles actually move," she said. "In people with Parkinson's, oftentimes the voice gets much quieter. The emotion or tone is taken away. This is really a core part of Parkinson's for a lot of people and it becomes a very difficult symptom to manage."
John Lehr, the head of the non-profit Parkinson's Foundation, said that that 89 percent of people with Parkinson's experience speech or voice disorders.
"It makes just having a normal conversation, not even just singing, very difficult," he said.
Singer Linda Ronstadt played her last show in 2009, but it wasn't until 2013 that she revealed she'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's. She'd retired before she knew what was happening. "Oh yeah. I was just yelling," she told "CBS This Morning" last year. "Instead of singing, I was just kind of yelling. I didn't want to charge people for that."
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Neil Diamond announced his Parkinson's diagnosis two years ago and immediately retired from touring.
Ozzy's wife Sharon explained to "Good Morning America" that Ozzy has "PRKN 2, which is a form of Parkinson's. There's so many different types of Parkinson's. It's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. It's like you have a good day, a good day and then a really bad day."
Ozzy added he has been experiencing other symptoms that may or may not stem from Parkinson's, saying: "I got a numbness down this arm for the surgery; my legs keep going cold. I don't know if that's the Parkinson's or what, you know, but that's — see, that's the problem. Because they cut nerves when they did the surgery. I'd never heard of nerve pain, and it's a weird feeling."
Sharon said that Ozzy will head to Switzerland in April to see a professor who specializes in helping people with their immune systems, in order to distinguish between her husband's symptoms. Sharon remarked: "We're going to go wherever we can go to seek answers," to which Ozzy added: "We're lucky enough to be able to afford to do that."
Ozzy said that he feels "better now" that he's come clean about his illness, and expressed hope that his fans are "there for me because I need them."
Ozzy is scheduled to return to North American arenas for another leg of his "No More Tours 2" tour this spring, while his first new solo album in 10 years, "Ordinary Man", is due for release on February 21.