This is a side effect that often comes with work. Many musicians will have at least some form of hearing loss if they have continued to perform for a long time. In a chat with SiriusXM host Howard Stern for the Howard Stern ShowDave Grohl detailed the extent of his hearing loss, but also revealed some of the specifics that allowed him to continue doing his job.
“I did not have [my ears] tested for a long time, but I know what they will say. You have hearing damage – tinnitus – in your left ear more than in your right ear. My left ear is a little less good than the right because of my snare drum and my stage monitor when I play the drums [are over on this side]“, admits Grohl.
Stern had asked the musician why he didn’t use in-ear headphones on stage, and Grohl revealed his problem with them. “I tried the ear monitor before, a long time ago, and the problem I have with it is that it takes away the sound of the natural atmosphere from you,” the Foo Fighters frontman said. . “I want to be able to hear the audience in front of me and I want to be able to turn around and hear Taylor right there and go here and hear Pat and here and hear Chris and stuff like that. It just messes with your spatial understanding of where you you are on stage.”
That said, Grohl reveals that even with his hearing loss, he’s been able to maintain the way he performs in large part thanks to those working on the sound for his shows. “I’ve had the same kind of monitor, the guy who mixes my monitors, for 31 years. He’s in my head. So even though I don’t use in-ear headphones, the sound on stage for me is fucking perfect, because it’s been the same guy, Ian Beveridge, for 31 years, since Nirvana,” the singer explained.
Plus, there’s a bit of vanity in why Grohl doesn’t use in-ear monitors, as he admitted, “I have little fucking ear holes and things, when I put them in, they come out. And I don’t, ‘I don’t want to look like a praying mantis with this stuff all over my head. I want to go out and go crazy.’
While Grohl admits to hearing loss, one place it hasn’t affected him is in the studio where he says he can still hear every little thing in the mix that sounds bad. “I can hear the details of everything we did for this song. I really can,” Grohl said, adding afterwards. “That said, if you were standing right next to me here at dinner, I wouldn’t understand a word you’re saying.”
Dave Grohl details his hearing issues with Howard Stern on SiriusXM
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