Paul Simon Has Lost Nearly All Hearing in His Left Ear

Paul Simon lost hearing
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Paul Simon lost hearing
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Photo Credit: Matthew Straubmuller / CC by 2.0

Paul Simon reveals in a new interview that he’s lost nearly all hearing in his left ear — and nobody has an explanation for it.

Legendary musician Paul Simon revealed in a new interview with The Times that he had lost almost all of his hearing in his left ear, which makes future live performances seem unlikely.

“Quite suddenly, I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it,” says Simon, who retired from touring in 2018. “So everything became more difficult. My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet because I thought it would pass, (that) it would repair itself.”

While his hearing has yet to repair itself, Simon has continued making new music. Last week, he shared a new project called Seven Psalms, a seven-movement composition meant to be heard as one piece of music instead of an album. Simon also made a surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival last year.

But he’s not yet angry about his hearing loss — perhaps due partly to his admission that sometimes he gets sick of his own songs while touring.

“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them. Sometimes there are songs that I like, and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the f*ck are you doing, Paul?'” the singer half-jokes. “Quite often, that would come during ‘You Can Call Me Al.’ I’d think, ‘What are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road; go home.'”

Last year, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl opened up about his own hearing loss — due in part to tinnitus — admitting half-jokingly to Howard Stern that he’s “f*cking deaf.”

“I’ve been reading lips for, like, 20 years. I’m a rock musician,” said Dave Grohl. “I can’t hear what you’re saying.”