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Has Bruce experienced hearing loss?


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Aside from the fact that we all experience hearing loss as we age, I ask the question inspired by watching Brian Johnston's Life On The Road with Roger Daltrey.  Great series all the way around, whoever mentioned it on here, thank you.  Forgot about it but then saw it on amazon lately so started watching and it's fascinating.

Anyway, watching Roger I thought how lucky we are with how Bruce has aged in the sense that he said he and Pete are almost fully deaf now and both wear hearing aids.  I realize The Who cranked it up to all decibels but I don't know how much louder than E Street.  Besides, it just comes with the territory, the loudness of the music over time will damage the ear drums.  Someone said a few years ago they saw Bruce for first time wearing some sorta plugs on stage and they thought it was a new/age thing.  

Brian Johnston seemed to more than identify with Roger about the consequence of playing loud music over the years so it's so common, and reportedly, near the end of John Entwistle's life, he was virtually death and had to rely on the feel of the bass to play, something like that.  People are capable of amazing things but I would imagine it would be a lot harder to tour with virtually no hearing.  

Episode on Robert Plant is just stellar for the record.  My respect for him has shot up some, and I've always had a fair amount of respect for him.  Loved how he talked about needing to grow and play with different people, he has his own Seeger Sessions' style band with The Shapeshifters and there'd be some great instruments and banjos in that band.  That boy deserves respect for never repeating himself twice.  He didn't even seem all that excited about Zep's "reunion" for the one off gig in 2007, if that year is correct.  He is only finally starting to show his age now too, he's aged so well.   

 

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3 minutes ago, Pregnant Sally said:

near the end of John Entwistle's life, he was virtually death 

I had to smile at this!

But I am surprised that after all these years Bruce has not had more hearing issues (as far as we know).  All that comes to mind are the black wrist/hand braces that he has worn since approximately the late 2000’s or so.

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During the one of the Cincinnati shows a fan was screaming in his ear and he jokingly asked her to scream into the other ear since he was already deaf in that one.  Always wondered how much truth there was to that. 
 

 

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Thanks Sally. This is something I gave thought about.

I have wondered whether Bruce has had some of those invisible implants, or whether he is just genetically blessed.

Even deaf in only one ear is remarkable.

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2 hours ago, Pregnant Sally said:

Aside from the fact that we all experience hearing loss as we age, I ask the question inspired by watching Brian Johnston's Life On The Road with Roger Daltrey.  Great series all the way around, whoever mentioned it on here, thank you.  Forgot about it but then saw it on amazon lately so started watching and it's fascinating.

Anyway, watching Roger I thought how lucky we are with how Bruce has aged in the sense that he said he and Pete are almost fully deaf now and both wear hearing aids.  I realize The Who cranked it up to all decibels but I don't know how much louder than E Street.  Besides, it just comes with the territory, the loudness of the music over time will damage the ear drums.  Someone said a few years ago they saw Bruce for first time wearing some sorta plugs on stage and they thought it was a new/age thing.  

Brian Johnston seemed to more than identify with Roger about the consequence of playing loud music over the years so it's so common, and reportedly, near the end of John Entwistle's life, he was virtually death and had to rely on the feel of the bass to play, something like that.  People are capable of amazing things but I would imagine it would be a lot harder to tour with virtually no hearing.  

Episode on Robert Plant is just stellar for the record.  My respect for him has shot up some, and I've always had a fair amount of respect for him.  Loved how he talked about needing to grow and play with different people, he has his own Seeger Sessions' style band with The Shapeshifters and there'd be some great instruments and banjos in that band.  That boy deserves respect for never repeating himself twice.  He didn't even seem all that excited about Zep's "reunion" for the one off gig in 2007, if that year is correct.  He is only finally starting to show his age now too, he's aged so well.   

 

Watched a recent interview with Jason Isbell in which he says that he has almost no hearing in his left ear from his time in the Truckers, having the drummer's crash cymbal right behind him.

So yes, I would be quite sure that Bruce's hearing has suffered from decades of very loud instruments around him.

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Well, for a while, The Who held the Guinness World Record for loudest band ever, and of course Pete famously lost a huge amount thanks to Keith Moon on the Smothers Brothers' show. But...yeah, it'd be hard to imagine Bruce hasn't lost quite a bit, especially since (if I recall correctly), he's just about the only musician of his level who doesn't use IEMs. (Unless he finally started using them at some point?) 

And, yeah, having read a few Led Zeppelin and/or Robert Plant bios, I agree: his restless artistic spirit is highly laudable. It would have been so easy for him to rest on his LZ laurels, but instead, he's pretty much always kept pushing. Very cool. 

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Look at the beginning of this video clip:

This was (in a shorter version) broadcast on German TV a couple years back when his autobiography first came out and he promoted it at the Frankfurt book fair.

So yeah, he has most certainly suffered some form of hearing loss...how bad it really is only he knows. I often wonder how rock musicians (or musicians in general) manage not to become deaf as time passes on.

There is actually quite a bit you can do, e.g. keeping the volume level of the stage sound way down (that can be done quite easily...as you're behind the mega PA system, you can achieve remarkably low volume levels on stage), using modern in-ear monitoring (instead of having monitor speakers blasting everything in your face), hearing protection aids/earmuffs...then again, Bruce has said before that he prefers the in-your-face feeling that monitor speakers provide...

On the other hand, from personal experience and as someone who has been to the front row (where you are actually a tad behind the huge PA speaker stacks), I would guess that the volume level on stage is quite low at an E Street show...

But eventually, a rock show is a loud affair...I guess you can minimize, but not eliminate, the risk of hearing loss...and I suppose to a degree it's the price you pay.

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9 hours ago, Scott Peterson said:

Well, for a while, The Who held the Guinness World Record for loudest band ever, and of course Pete famously lost a huge amount thanks to Keith Moon on the Smothers Brothers' show. But...yeah, it'd be hard to imagine Bruce hasn't lost quite a bit, especially since (if I recall correctly), he's just about the only musician of his level who doesn't use IEMs. (Unless he finally started using them at some point?) 

And, yeah, having read a few Led Zeppelin and/or Robert Plant bios, I agree: his restless artistic spirit is highly laudable. It would have been so easy for him to rest on his LZ laurels, but instead, he's pretty much always kept pushing. Very cool. 

It's the IEMs people were referring to, that they think they saw him wearing them at a show.  

And yeah, during the "Planty" episode, after the reunion show, reportedly the plan was for the band to start playing football stadiums around the world, would have been so much demand, but Robert Plant really had no interest.  Sometimes money just doesn't talk.  

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I guess his pal Sting may have warned him of hearing loss dangers early enough for Bruce to avoid major problems. 
I remember Sting talking about “going deaf” as a consequence of loud music more than twenty years ago. Bruce must have been aware of that as well.

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I wondered if this has started to manifest itself more recently.

Up until the RIR Lisbon show in 2016, Bruce had his monitors under the stage. During that show (a festival, so it's not his stage) the monitors were on-stage. In an interview with his FOH team a few years back, Bruce told them how much having them on-stage improved his ability to hear them.

In every show since, the monitors were on-stage instead of under the stage. Have a look for yourself. I've assumed this is because his hearing deteriorated and, also, because the shows in 2016 involved much less movement/physicality than previous tours where the emphasis was on him having a clear passage to move freely around the stage.

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