Paul Simon Reveals He’s Lost Almost All His Hearing in One Ear

A return to live music is looking even less likely

paul simon lost hearing deaf folk rock music news interview
Paul Simon, photo by Robert Altman

    Over half a century of recording and performing has possibly taken a physical toll on Paul Simon. The legendary Simon & Garfunkel musician revealed in a new interview with The Times that he’s lost almost all of his hearing in one ear, making a return to live performance more unlikely.

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

    Simon’s hearing hasn’t repaired itself — yet. But he doesn’t seem too broken up about it, maybe due to the fact that he sometimes gets sick of his own songs while he’s on the road: “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 fuck are you doing, Paul?’ 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.’”


    Of course, Simon hasn’t stopped making music altogether. Just last week, he shared a new musical project called Seven Psalms, a seven-movement composition meant to be heard as a continuous piece of music rather than an album. He also made a surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival last year.

    Dave Grohl previously opened up about his own hearing loss in a February 2022 interview, kinda-sorta joking that he’s “fucking deaf” and admitting that he’s “been reading lips for 20 years.”

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