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

Update: Some reports have also attributed Brian Johnson’s hearing loss to race-car driving. 

AC/DC  was once named among the 10 loudest rock bands of all time, and now the lead singer may be paying for it, with his hearing.

AC/DC announced on their website Monday, that they were forced to reschedule 10 upcoming  “Rock or Bust” World Tour dates,  under a doctor’s recommendation that current lead singer Brian Johnson “stop touring or risk total hearing loss.”

The band did not release any other details about 68-year-old Johnson’s condition, but it is well documented that prolonged exposure to loud environments, such as rock concerts, can cause hearing loss.

Just two minutes at a concert with 110dB of sound can damage your hearing, according to Hear the World Foundation. An AC/DC “Back in Black tour” concert in the early ‘80s once measured at a deafening 130dB, according to Gibson.com.  

A 130dB level is the equivalent of being 50 feet from a Military jet aircraft take-off from aircraft carrier with afterburner, and ranks as a painful experience, just below eardrum rupture (150dB), according to Purdue University, “Noise Sources and Their Effects”.

Since that iconic concert, AC/DC has toned the volume down, according to Gibson.com, but the rockers are still known for their noise. 

In situations such as concerts, it is important to use earplugs and maintain an adequate distance from the source of the noise to avoid damage to hearing.  It is recommended to take acoustic breaks and switch off all sources of noise, giving your ears at least 10 hours’ rest following such events.

Other musicians have also reported noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of constant exposure to loud noise, including the WHO’s Pete Townshend,  Will.i.am, Ozzy Osbourne and Sting.  There are also many musicians who are advocating for safe hearing practices and are actively protecting their hearing.

Learn more about ways to protect your hearing when listening to music.

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Jill von Büren
Managing Editor Hearing Like Me
Jill is the social media community manager at Sonova and managing editor of Hearing Like Me.
She has a background in journalism, and passion for storytelling and connecting with people. When she's not immersing herself in the hearing loss community, she enjoys traveling, doing yoga and learning Swiss German.

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