AC/DC Singer's Hearing Loss Shocks Fans
Australian hard rock band AC/DC surprised the music world and millions of fans when they announced they would be postponing the remaining dates of their U.S. tour because of lead singer Brian Johnson’s hearing health. Doctors advised Johnson to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.
Since 2014, AC/DC lost both guitarist Malcolm Young and drummer Phil Rudd to health and legal issues, according to ultimateclassicrock.com. Young was replaced by his nephew Stevie after a diagnosis of dementia and former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade stepped in for Rudd, who was facing a series of charges.
In a consequenceofsound.net interview Johnson admitted he's depressed. In another interview in ultimateclassicrock.com, Johnson told shock jock Howard Stern that it was car racing, not music, that caused the damage.
“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.”
Whether it's music or sports, it doesn't matter – the damage is done and Johnson is faced with the terrible reality that his life on stage may be over. In related news, News.sky.com reports "It's all but a done deal that Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose will front AC/DC for the ten remaining shows" in the US.
Brian Johnson Not Alone
Connect Hearing (Canada) has spoken about the dangers of loud sounds. In a post entitled “Top 5 Jobs for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” careers in military, agriculture, construction, carpentry and mining were singled out as being dangerous for hearing health. Also mentioned in the article were careers in entertainment and nightlife. Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne and Phil Collins all live with hearing loss, and doormen, bartenders, and security personnel are also at risk because of loud music.
For Jon Waterhouse, Director of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing the news that anyone is dealing with noise induced hearing loss is frustrating because it's completely preventable. This is one reason why Connect Hearing (Canada) encourages people to drop by a clinic for free hearing tests.
“I know there are a lot of AC/DC fans out there who were just floored by the news that Brian Johnson would have to step away from the band. It's hard for me to watch anyone have to leave a dream behind because of hearing loss,” said Waterhouse. “It's terrible news but I think there are a lot of opportunities for the public to learn from this. A commitment to hearing health and safety is so important, and as sad as this situation is I believe Johnson's celebrity status will help educate millions of people about hearing loss. Your ears are so important and we need to get the message out that our sense of hearing should not be taken for granted.”
Statistics Canada reports that audiometry results from the 2012 and 2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) indicate that 20% of adults aged 19 to 79 years had at least mild hearing loss in at least one ear. Hearing loss was more prevalent in older age groups. Adults aged 60 to 79 years were significantly more likely to have hearing loss (47%) compared with younger adults aged 40 to 59 years (16%) and 19 to 39 years (7%). Males (25%) were significantly more likely to have hearing loss compared with females (14%).