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Music

Dave Grohl says being a rock star has left him "f*cking deaf"

@TylerGolsen

Rock and roll tends to carry quite a lot of physical damage along with it. It takes a strong constitution to do what the likes of Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix did, but rock music isn’t just about avoiding bad pills and moderating your stage dives. Just by the nature of the music, rock music is loud, and quite a few rock musicians suffer from hearing loss as a result.

Dave Grohl is no different, as he recently revealed to Howard Stern. “If you were sitting next to me right here at dinner, I wouldn’t understand a fucking word you were saying to me the whole fucking time,” Grohl told Stern. “There’s no way. In a crowded restaurant — that’s the worst.”

“The worst thing about this pandemic shit is people wearing masks,” he said. “I’ve been reading lips for, like, 20 years… I’m a rock musician. I’m fucking deaf. I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Grohl claims that his hearing problems aren’t any worse than any of his fellow compatriots in rock, but that still means having to deal with serious medical issues like tinnitus.

It doesn’t help that Grohl doesn’t wear in-ear monitors while performing on stage. “The problem that I have with [ear monitors] is it removes you from the natural atmosphere sound. I wanna hear the audience in front of me… It messes with your spatial understanding of where you are onstage.” Grohl famously doesn’t even wear earplugs, and while he considers it essential to perform without them, he isn’t ignorant to the effect that it has had on his ability to hear.

Where it matters, however, Grohl still claims to be able to hear well enough to pick out specific details in the band’s recordings. “When we go in to make a record, and we’re mixing an album, I can hear the slightest little things,” Grohl says. “My ears are still tuned in to certain frequencies, and if I hear something out of tune or a cymbal that’s not bright enough or something like that. In the mix, I can fucking hear the minutiae of everything we had done to that song.”

Watch Grohl discuss his hearing loss with Howard Stern down below.