Paul Simon hasn’t “accepted” his hearing loss, but is looking for a solution

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Paul Simon

Paul Simon has revealed that while he hasn’t “accepted” his hearing loss, he is in the process of finding a new solution which will help him return to touring.

The Simon and Garfunkel star opened up about his hearing loss in his left ear at a Q&A at the Toronto Film Festival yesterday (September 10) – something which has affected him in recent years and left him struggling to perform live.

Here, he said that while he hasn’t yet come to terms with the impairment, he is due to start work with two guitarists, who could potentially fill in some of his musical parts during a live show and help him return to touring.

“I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to,” he began (via The Hollywood Reporter). “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,” he added, referencing to how his hearing loss hampers his ability to play live. “I’m not sure how I can integrate my voice with the guitars.”

Paul Simon. CREDIT: Newport Folk Festival YouTube

The 81-year-old attended the Q&A panel following a post-screening of In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon – an Alex Gibney documentary that had a world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend. It is set for an official release on October 7.

Elsewhere in the discussion, Simon also confirmed that he still plays his guitar on a daily basis because of the good it does for his well-being.

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

The updates on Simon’s potential return to touring come in light of a recent interview, in which he explained that his previous attempts to rehearse with his touring band didn’t go quite to plan.

“I haven’t figured out how to perform with the hearing loss,” he said to the outlet back in July. “I’ve tried to rehearse with the guys in my touring band, to see if I could manage it. I can’t so far.”

Gibney’s documentary is centred around the music veteran at his home studio in Texas, working on his latest album ‘Seven Psalms’. Although the artist confirmed that he hadn’t listened to the album in some time, he did announce that he had finished work on a new song.

Paul Simon and Alex Gibney speak onstage at the "In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon" premiere during the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2023
Paul Simon and Alex Gibney speak onstage at the “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon” premiere during the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2023. CREDIT: Brian de Rivera Simon/Getty Images

“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,” he said at the TIFF premiere.

The Toronto Film Festival continues until this Sunday (September 17).

In other Paul Simon news, the musician recently reflected on his farewell tour which he announced back in February.

“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 stated.

“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.”

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