AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson talks his return to music following hearing loss

The singer has been working for three years to get his hearing back with an experimental treatment

With AC/DC announcing that they’re getting back together for a new studio album, frontman Brian Johnson explained how an experimental treatment helped him deal with hearing loss and get his singing voice back.

The legendary rock band announced earlier this month they were getting the original living band members back together for their first album since 2014. The group, consisting of Johnson Angus Young, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams, dropped the first single for the album, “Shot in the Dark” on Oct. 7.

Johnson previously sang with the band during their 2015-2016 tour “Rock or Bust” but had to stop partway through after doctors told him he was risking serious damage to his ears. Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose took over for the rest of the tour.

Singer Brian Johnson of AC/DC performs at Sprint Center on February 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Singer Brian Johnson of AC/DC performs at Sprint Center on February 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Jason Squires/WireImage)

“I couldn’t hear the tone of the guitars at all. It was a horrible kind of deafness. I was literally getting by on muscle memory and mouth shapes. I was starting to really feel bad about the performances in front of the boys, in front of the audience. It was crippling. There’s nothing worse than standing there and not being sure,” Johnson told Rolling Stone in a recent interview.


Johnson told the outlet about how an experimental treatment from an unnamed doctor, who reportedly helped treat him by visiting once per month for three years, helped him.

“The first time he came down he brought this thing that looked like a car battery,” Johnson told the outlet. “I went, ‘What in the hell is that?’ He said, ‘We’re going to miniaturize it.’ It took two and a half years. He came down once a month. We’d sit there and it was boring as s--t with all these wires and computer screens and noises. But it was well worth it. The only thing I can tell you is that it uses the bone structure in the skull as a receiver. That’s as much as I can tell you.”


Fortunately, the treatment worked and Johnson was able to return to AC/DC to be a part of the new album, “Power Up.”