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Beethoven’s Hearing Loss

I recently came across an interesting article from CBC.ca  that looked at Ludwig Van Beethoven’s hearing loss and how it may have influenced the style of his music throughout his life.

The study from the British Medical Journal looked specifically at the composer’s use of high notes and the evolution of his music from the time of his reported hearing loss in 1801 to his deafness in 1825.

Not surprisingly around the time he started to lose his hearing he began to initially lose the ability to hear high-frequency notes and as a result, his compositions relied more on middle and low-frequency notes . It wasn’t until he was deaf and working within his own “inner world” that there was a significant return of the high-frequency notes. He actually returned to his earlier composing experiences after losing his hearing. Amazing!

Here is an excerpt from the TV Documentary of Ludwig Van Beethoven that documents the great composer’s hearing loss.


I found this fascinating and in some ways similar to how people identify and deal with their hearing loss even today. Like many people, Beethoven suffered from Tinnitus and if he lived today, it could have been corrected with digital hearing aids.

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