AC/DC's Brian Johnson

AC/DC’s Brian Johnson Opens Up On His Hearing Loss, Being Sidelined From The Band


AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has spoken at length about his ongoing struggle with hearing loss, which has currently sidelined him from performing live with the band, lest he go permanently deaf. The conversation took place with SiriusXM‘s Doron Levin and can be heard below. Some excerpts from the chat include:

On his final leg of touring with the band:

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“In Sydney, before Christmas, I was in the hospital on nine different occasions working with this wonderful doctor called Doctor Chang, and he had perceived that one night, we were playing Winnipeg at this huge stadium outside and it was raining cats and dogs, and it was absolutely freezing cold. And I caught a fever, and so did… well, Angus already had a fever.

We were dripping wet, soaking wet, absolutely freezing, and then straight after the show, we had to get on an aircraft and fly straight to Vancouver, which was a two-and-a-half-hour flight, and unfortunately, the fluids went up into my sinuses and then around my ear. But we had to carry on. We did a gig there, then we did San Francisco, then we did Los Angeles, and then we came home for a two or three-week break, and then off we went to Australia. And my ears still hadn’t popped.

And I was getting worried because my right ear, my good ear is just about totally deaf. And when I got [to Australia], that’s when Doctor Chang found out that the fluids had crystallized and had been eating away at my ear. So my good ear, I lost… I don’t know what percentage, but it was enough to make things very difficult. So they worked on me.

They had tubes in my arm, I was getting liquids and steroids into the system to try to break it down and clear it up. But he did look me in the eye with that horrible look that doctors have when you know something bad’s coming [laughs], and he just said, ‘Yup. I’m afraid you’re not gonna get that back. But we can work with you, and we’ll try it.’

So we did. And we did all the gigs in Australia—that was great—and then we came back and I did ten shows in America, but I’m afraid after that, when I went for my second check, that’s when they said, “You’re killing your ears.'”

Reflecting on his run with the band:

“What people don’t understand is, it is what it is. It’s like a young sports player getting an injury. I feel sorry for them [when they’re] 24 or 25 and they have an injury and it ends their career and it’s an awful thing. But I’m lucky. I’m 68—I’m 69 later this year—and I’ve had a pretty good run. I’ve been in one of the best bands in the world.

They didn’t tell me I had cancer or something terminal. And I had so many good times with the boys and I’ve had such a lucky and great life, and I’m just thankful, really, that I came out of it in one piece.”

Since Johnson was sidelined by his condition, the band have been finishing out their world tour with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose fronting the band.

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