Paul Simon On Hearing Loss: ‘I Haven’t Accepted It Entirely’

Paul Simon
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Musician Paul Simon is reflecting on losing his hearing, saying he’s finally coming to terms with it.

The 81-year-old singer and songwriter previously revealed in May that he had almost completely lost hearing in his left ear. “I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to,” Simon said on Sunday while speaking at the premiere of “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon” at the Toronto Film Festival, per The Hollywood Reporter.

“I play the guitar every day. It’s the instrument that allows me to express myself creatively,” he said. “But it’s also where I go for solace. If I’m feeling … ‘whatever.’ So it’s a very crucial thing to me.”

He continued, “You know, something happens to you when you have some sort of disability that changes your awareness or changes how you interact with life.”

Simon became famous as one half of the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel and is known for classic songs such as “Mrs. Robinson” and “The Sound of Silence.” He’s still recording music and released his 15th solo album, Seven Psalms, in May 2023.


He said performing these new songs live has proved challenging due to his hearing loss. 

“Usually, when I finished an album I went out and toured with it, and then I have the opportunity to really investigate the piece,” Simon said, per THR. “And then it evolves to another standard, and goes further.”

He added, “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, and see if I can sing the piece. I’m not sure how I can integrate my voice with the guitars.”

Simon said he didn’t know what the future would look like for him artistically. “I wrote a new song called ‘When I Learned to Play Guitar,’ but I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with it,” Simon told the audience in Toronto.

Simon had previously told London’s The Times that he hoped his hearing loss was temporary. “Quite suddenly I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it,” he told the outlet in May. “So everything became more difficult.”

“My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself,” the musician added.

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