Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl Details the Extent of His Hearing Loss
It's a side effect that often comes with the job. Many musicians will have at least some form of hearing loss if they have continued to perform concerts over a long period. During a chat with SiriusXM host Howard Stern for the Howard Stern Show, Dave Grohl detailed the extent of his hearing loss, but also revealed some of the specifics that have allowed him to continue doing his job.
"I haven't had [my ears] tested in a long time, but I know what they're going to say. You have hearing damage — tinnitus — in your left ear more so than your right ear. My left ear is kind of worse than my right because 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 monitors onstage, and Grohl revealed his issue with them. "I've tried the ear monitor thing before, a long time ago, and the problem that I have with it is that it removes you from the natural atmosphere sound," said the Foo Fighters frontman. "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 over here and hear Pat and over here and hear Chris and stuff like that. It just messes with your spatial understanding of where you are onstage."
That said, Grohl reveals that even with his hearing loss, he's been able to maintain the way in which he performs due in large part to those working on sound for his shows. "I've had the same monitor guy, the guy who mixes my monitors, for 31 years. He's in my head. So even though I'm not using in-ear monitors, the sound onstage for me is fucking perfect, because it's been the same guy, Ian Beveridge, for 31 years, since Nirvana," explained the singer.
Plus there's a little bit of vanity involved in why Grohl doesn't use the in-ear monitors, as he admitted, "I have little fucking earholes and those things, when I put them in, they just pop out. And I don't want to look like a praying mantis with these things all over my head. I wanna go out there and go nuts."
While Grohl admits to having some hearing loss, one place it hasn't affected him is in the studio where he states that he can still hear the slightest little things in the mix that sound off. "I can hear the minutiae of everything we've done to that song. I really can," said Grohl, then adding. "That said, if you were standing right next to me here at dinner, I wouldn't understand a word you were saying."