AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has been openly discussing his hearing loss since at least 2014, when he told Howard Stern that rock n’ roll wasn’t entirely to blame.

“I’ve obviously had some hearing loss,” Johnson told Stern. “I’ve got hearing loss in me left ear. I didn’t get it from music. I got it from sitting in a race car too long without ear plugs. I heard my ear drum burst, because I forgot to put me plugs in under my helmet. That’s how it happened. Music had nothing to do with it.”

AC/DC have postponed the remaining dates of their U.S. tour after doctors pulled Johnson off the road, saying he risked total hearing loss if he continued to perform. The band has committed to making up those dates, mentioning the possible use of a replacement singer. Johnson has been the band’s singer since 1980.

It’s unclear when the racing mishap happened to Johnson. He noted that he got very dizzy because of the inner-ear damage, and when he removed his racing helmet, he found blood. “It’s just like a tininess, like tinnitus or something,” said Johnson, who said to Stern that it didn’t slow him down. “You forget about it after a week.”

AC/DC have already lost both guitarist Malcolm Young and drummer Phil Rudd to health and legal issues, respectively, since 2014. Young was replaced by his nephew Stevie after a diagnosis of dementia. Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade stepped in for Rudd, who was facing a series of charges. The band started this run of U.S. dates on Feb. 2 in Tacoma, Wash.


5 Responses

  1. The timing is interesting. They moved up the Kansas City show from Monday February 29th to Sunday February 28th so that Brian could attend the funeral of a close friend. Brian seemed to be in great form on Friday the 26th in Houston.

    The fact that they would consider using a “replacement singer” is out of left field. I realize that they don’t want to cancel the remaining North American and European dates, but getting a replacement singer blows my small, childlike mind. I don’t know what to think.

  2. Since his hearing level tests are his private information there’s not enough information in these stories to know what his doctor meant by total loss of hearing. Is he deaf in one ear and has good levels in the other but fearing he may damage that one too? Did he release the comments from his doctor and if it was an existing condition why not finish the 10 dates? Not to be callous but sitting out the remaining shows is not fixing the hearing loss so why not just call it a day. I have hearing loss and tinnitus but loud music is just as painful.

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