Dave Grohl Reveals Hearing Loss, Says He's Been Reading Lips for 20 Years

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has revealed that he's living with hearing loss and has been reading lips for 20 years. During a recent appearance on the Howard Stern Show, Grohl told the host that he's "f—ing deaf" from tinnitus in his left ear after decades of playing live shows. "I haven't had them tested in a long time – I mean, I know what they're gonna say," the former Nirvana drummer said, explaining that he hasn't had a doctor asses his hearing in a while. "'You have hearing damage tinnitus in your left ear, morseo than your right ear.'"

Grohl continued, "If you were sitting next to me right here at dinner, I wouldn't understand a f—ing word you were saying to me, the whole f—ing time. There's no way. In a crowded restaurant, that's worse. That's the worst thing about this pandemic s—, it's like, people wearing masks. I've been reading lips for like, 20 years, so when someone comes up to me and they're like [garbled noise], I'm like, 'I'm a rock musician. I'm f—ing deaf, I can't hear what you're saying."

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, "tinnitus (pronounced tin-NY-tus or TIN-u-tus) is not a disease. It is a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus."

The condition is generally explained as a ringing in the ears, but it can also sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. "It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. You might hear it in either one or both ears. Roughly 10 percent of the adult population of the United States has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. This amounts to nearly 25 million Americans," the NIDCD reports.

While conversations can be difficult, Grohl explained that he is still able to hear "the slightest little things" when recording music and mixing songs. "My ears are still tuned in to certain frequencies," he said, "and if I hear something that's slightly out of tune, or a cymbal that's not bright enough or something like that, in the mix, I can f—ing hear the minutiae of everything that we have done to that song, I really can."