Paul Simon hasn’t "accepted" his hearing loss and hopes to perform live again
12 September 2023, 13:58
Listen to this article
Paul Simon has been open about his health struggles in recent months.
The folk-pop icon recently revealed that promotion of his latest album, Seven Psalms, has been curtailed due to his hearing loss.
Earlier this year, the mind behind Simon & Garfunkel's timelessly poetic lyricism revealed that performing live is currently out of reach.
Confirming that he is losing his hearing, 81-year-old Paul Simon said: "I started to lose the hearing in my left ear, about two years ago, two-and-a-half years ago. And at this moment, it's, I think, 8% hearing in that ear."
"It's upsetting," he continued." I can still hear well enough to play guitar and write. But I can't hear well enough to play with five or six musicians."
- Simon & Garfunkel's 15 greatest songs ever, ranked
- Simon and Garfunkel facts: Songs, why they split, their Central Park show and reunions
- 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' by Simon & Garfunkel: The making of the ultimate folk power ballad
"Maybe that's fine. Maybe there's something to be learned from that? Acceptance of, you know, less? That's life. You know, people have a lot worse than this."
A humble, honest answer from a music great who might have said goodbye to his love of live performance.
However, in a recent interview, Simon insists he hasn't yet "accepted" his hearing loss and is finding solutions to get back on the road.
The Simon & Garfunkel star was speaking in a Q&A at the Toronto Film Festival recently, and opened up about how his life and career have been impacted by his hearing loss.
He's yet to come to terms with his impairment and is working with two new guitarists to rearrange parts of his songs so he can perform live again, much to the delight of his long-term fans.
"I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to," he started after having been asked if he's come to terms with his hearing deficiency.
"Usually, when I finished an album I went out and toured with it, and then I have the opportunity to really investigate the piece. And then it evolves to another standard, and goes further."
"Although a week from now I’m going to try and work with two guitarists who will play the parts that I played on the record [2023's Seven Psalms], and see if I can sing the piece."
'I'm not sure how I can integrate my voice with the guitars", he added, a harmonic characteristic that Paul Simon has made his trademark throughout his career.
Paul Simon - The Boxer (from The Concert in Hyde Park)
The Q&A was part of a panel discussion which took place after a screening of Alex Gibney's new documentary, In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon, which was given its world premiere Toronto Film Festival.
Simon himself graced the audience with his presence, and earlier during the discussion opened up about how he stays passionate and positive.
"I play the guitar every day. It’s the instrument that allows me to express myself creatively, " Simon said. "But it’s also where I go for solace. If I’m feeling … 'whatever'."
"It’s a very crucial thing to me. You know, something happens to you when you have some sort of disability that changes your awareness or changes how you interact with life."
Despite his hearing damage, there's still hope to see Paul Simon on the stage once more, as he intends to defy the odds stacked against him.
After he completed his farewell tour back in 2018, the 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' singer reflected on closing the door on a significant chapter of his life back in February 2023.
"I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end. Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief," he said.
"I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians."
"I think about music constantly. I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in their music that touched their hearts."