Hearing Loss

AC/DC lead to stop touring or “risk total hearing loss”

Brian Johnson, front man for rock band AC/DC may be giving up touring for good on advice from his doctors that he will “risk total hearing loss” if he continues touring. Johnson immediately cancelled appearances with the band in the US over the next 2 months. They have postponed ten tour dates leaving fans pondering the future of the band. They must now go through the difficult task of deciding who will replace Johnson who has been lead vocalist for 36 years.


Total hearing loss

A statement on AC/DC’s website says “Brian Johnson has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss”. The statement continues “Tomorrow’s show in Atlanta through Madison Square Garden in New York, NY in early April will be made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist”.



In spite of the statement, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for a replacement to lead the band on tour amongst fans. An online poll by the Sydney Morning Herald overwhelmingly seems to support ending AC/DC in the wake of Johnson’s departure from the tour. Given nine choices for a replacement, 50% of people said “without Brian Johnson there is no AC/DC”.


Rock N Roll

Johnson would not be the first rock n roll lead to lost his hearing after a lifetime of music. Rockers have a history of hearing loss due to touring after decades without ear protection.  Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R) was set up in 1980s with the help of Pete Townshend specifically to raise awareness among rock musicians about the dangers of not protecting your ears. Townshend himself has indicated that listening to music through headphones has had an especially bad effect on his hearing saying “my intuition tells me there is terrible trouble [for audiophiles] ahead”. With awareness being raised among musicians, paradoxically we might see a fall in the number of musicians with hearing loss but a rise everywhere else as the smartphone generation turns the volume up on their earbuds.


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