After coming down with a mild case of Covid-19 in November, W. Kent Taylor found himself tormented by tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. It persisted and grew so distracting that the founder and chief executive of the restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. had trouble reading or concentrating.
Mr. Taylor told one friend he hadn’t been able to sleep more than two hours a night for months.
In early March, he met friends at his home in Naples, Fla., and led them on a yacht cruise in the Bahamas. Some of those friends thought he was finally getting better. Then his tinnitus “came screaming back in his head” last week, said Steve Ortiz, a longtime friend and former colleague.
On Thursday, March 18, Mr. Taylor died by suicide in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He was 65 years old and had overcome early flops to build a successful chain of more than 600 casual-dining restaurants, most of which evoke traditional roadside eateries with steaks, music and free peanuts.
Friends said that as far as they knew, Mr. Taylor had no history of depression. “Quite the opposite,” said Mark J. Fischer, a friend since childhood. “He was so used to being positive and feeling good.”
From Mayo Clinic:
Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.
Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears, including:
Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus, or tinnitus that only you can hear. The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.
In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound, often in time with your heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, your doctor may be able to hear your tinnitus when he or she does an examination (objective tinnitus).
When to see a doctor
Some people aren't very bothered by tinnitus. For other people, tinnitus disrupts their daily lives. If you have tinnitus that bothers you, see your doctor.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
See your doctor as soon as possible if: