It's been a rough year for rock fans who have weathered the deaths of too many icons and have seen other legends embark on farewell tours, saying their final goodbyes around the world. AC/DC have soldiered on through numerous issues over the last couple of years, including bringing in Axl Rose as Brian Johnson's replacement, after the singer was forced off the road due to the risk of losing his hearing permanently. With a new hearing technology, however, Johnson could be back onstage as early as six months from now.

The legendary frontman paired up with Stephen Ambrose of Asius Technologies earlier this year to test out a new piece of equipment designed by Ambrose. The goal was to reduce the negative impact that AC/DC's high volume concerts exude and bring Johnson back to the vocal helm. The technology was deemed favorable by the singer and now Ambrose has given Team Rock even greater news.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we have something that Brian, and other people, can use to return to the stage without any threat of damage to his hearing within the next six to 12 months," Ambrose, a pioneer in the in-ear monitor field, said. Continuing, he added, "I will endeavor to kick up the development of the technology another 10 notches, at which point I expect to get the green light from Brian's doctors to test the prototype with him. We need to know he can test it without further damaging his hearing. And I expect those tests will go very successfully."

The technology will not only potentially help Johnson, but those struggling with similar hearing issues around the world. "Having Brian Johnson involved has helped us get the support of a lot of major companies – support that wouldn't have been there without him," Ambrose explained.

With Axl Rose presumably still in place with AC/DC, the band will look different regardless of the vocal slot next time they step onstage. Since Johnson was sidelined, bassist Cliff Williams announced his departure would come at the conclusion of the "Rock or Bust" tour. He officially stepped down following the recent final stateside show after nearly 40 years of service.

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