Paul Simon's hearing loss in his left ear may force the legendary songwriter to wind down his touring earlier than he intended, but he revealed he's still finding positive ways to deal with his developing condition.
“I haven’t accepted it entirely, but I’m beginning to,” Simon told the Princess of Wales Theatre audience in Toronto (via The Hollywood Reporter) as he spoke on stage alongside director Gibney at a post-screening Q&A for new documentary Restless Dreams: The Music Of Paul Simon.
Gibney's documentary had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday.
“I play the guitar every day. It’s the instrument that allows me to express myself creatively," Simon, 81, told the audience. "But it’s also where I go for solace. If I’m feeling … ‘whatever.’ So 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 songwriter previously detailed how fast the deterioration in his left ear occurred. “Quite suddenly I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it," Simon told The Times earlier in 2023. "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.”
So far that hasn't happened and it has made live performance a challenge for him. “Usually, when I finished an album I went out and toured with it, and then I have the opportunity to really investigate the piece," he explained in the Q&A. "And then it evolves to another standard, and goes further.”
Instead, the musician is now looking at ways to adapt performances around his condition. “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," he explained. "I’m not sure how I can integrate my voice with the guitars."
The Restless Dreams film follows Simon working on his most recent album, Sven Psalms; a 33-minute piece in seven parts and a nod to the stark acoustic playing of his folk roots.