The Music Must Go On

September 4, 2014

Did you know that Beethoven suffered from debilitating tinnitus?

A condition that nearly drove him mad and he eventually lost his hearing. This almost drove him to suicide.


Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential classical musicians the world has seen. He was a prolific composer and brilliant pianist. His musical genius was apparent at an early age and he is responsible for some of the greatest musical works, many of which were penned when he had completely lost his hearing.


His debilitating condition made it very difficult for him in social situations and during performances. To try to come to terms with it, he took a sojourn to a small town.


In his end was his beginning

Beethoven wrote of his suffering and how he was almost driven to suicide but vowed that he would continue to live for and through his music.


Losing his hearing made it impossible to perform

By the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf . He was still able to compose music but could not perform. In fact, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony in 1824, he was turned around so that he could see the tumultuous applause of the audience.


Music shaped by his loss of hearing

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam analysed his works and think his loss of hearing impacted on his compositions. It seems like the pitch of the notes he used changed as his hearing diminished.  His music is divided into three distinct periods. His early quartets use a variety of high notes. Then as his hearing worsened and his tinnitus wore him down, he used much lower frequency notes which would have been easier to hear. Once his hearing was completely gone he began to use higher pitch notes again


Can you imagine giving up something that you love so much because your hearing has failed you? Take care of your hearing so that you will never be without music. If you are concerned that you might have tinnitus or a hearing problem it’s important to see a specialist without delay.


If you experience hearing loss – The Southern ENT Team is here to help.


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