by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
The Jewish Chronicle, based in London, reported last week on singer Paul Simon’s sudden left-sided hearing loss. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Simon told an audience at the Toronto International Film Festival about his hearing loss; “I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to,” he said.
Simon released his 15th solo album Seven Psalms in May. He usually tours after releasing an album, both to help market the album and also so he can become more familiar with the songs and “really investigate the piece.” He’s now working alongside guitarists to find a way to make live performing easier.
Sudden hearing loss is a rare and little-understood phenomenon. The prognosis depends on a number of factors, but is less favorable in older people. We hope Simon recovers or adapts to his new auditory disability. “You know, something happens to you when you have some sort of disability that changes your awareness or changes how you interact with life,” he said.
There is no known way to prevent sudden sensorineural hearing loss but a good place to start is to avoid loud noise exposure. Unfortunately, performers usually can’t do that. For the rest of us, remember: If it sounds loud, it’s too loud and your auditory health is at risk. Turn down the volume, leave the noisy environment or use hearing protection.