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AC/DC's Brian Johnson Reveals Hearing Loss Details

05/23/2016
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AC/DC

(hennemusic) AC/DC singer Brian Johnson is speaking publicly for the first time about the hearing issues that sidelined him from live performances in March on the advice of doctors in order to prevent further damage.

The crisis was serious enough for AC/DC to postpone 10 spring dates in the US on their "Rock Or Bust" world tour while Johnson met with medical professionals and the band to determine his health status moving forward.

In a new interview with SiriusXM radio host Doron Levin, Johnson provided a timeline of his hearing issues, which originally began approximately eight years ago while racing at the Watkins Glen International.

"For the first time ever, I forgot to put my earplugs in," Johnson began. "After about 35 minutes, my left ear; a little pop. All that happened was I suffered tinnitus for about six or seven months, but it cleared up and I was fine again. We did another tour after that and I was fine."

The issue resurfaced enough during AC/DC's current tour that it started interfering with his ability to perform. "In Sydney, before Christmas, I was in the hospital on nine different occasions working with this wonderful doctor called Doctor Chang," says the singer, "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 didů 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," Johnson continued. "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 lostů 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.'"

It was at this point that doctors advised Johnson that his ears could no longer handle the sound levels in arenas and stadiums without further - and possibly permanent - damage. Read more and listen to the interview here.

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Copyright hennemusic - Excerpted here with permission.

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