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Why did Ludwig van Beethoven Go Deaf?

Looking for interesting facts about Beethoven? We will tell you here. Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the greatest composers…

By I Kid You Not , in Facts to Know People , at May 9, 2024 Tags:

Looking for interesting facts about Beethoven? We will tell you here.

Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the greatest composers the world has seen – but there are many things about him you may not know, one of them being that he lost his hearing (more on that below). If you search for Ludwig van Beethoven compositions – you’ll get many results – some of which we’ll tell you about here. We tell you about his life and lots of Ludwig van Beethoven facts you may not know.

Here’s a quick introduction to who he was.

Who was Ludwig van Beethoven?

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer who lived around 200 years ago. Who is a composer – it’s someone who writes music. Beethoven wrote it for orchestras and pianos instead of guitars and drums (like today). He poured his emotions into his music, making it powerful and dramatic.

He showed talent at a very young age, around 4 or 5. By 8, he was already performing in public.

Before we get into his life, here are some fun facts about Beethoven

Fun Facts About Beethoven for Kids

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Musical Prodigy: He gave his first public piano performance at seven and impressed everyone with his talent.

Deaf Composer: He composed some of his best pieces without hearing a single note.

Beethoven’s Dog: Beethoven loved animals. He loved a dog named Gigons, though it did not belong to him but to someone he wanted to marry – her name was Therese Malfatti. She was one of his students.

Messy Hair: Beethoven was known for his wild, messy hair. He didn’t comb it about his appearances. He often looked like he had just rolled out of bed!

Immortal Melody: The famous melody from Beethoven’s famous symphony “Ode to Joy” is now the official anthem of the European Union and is recognized worldwide.

Secret Message: He wrote a secret letter to whom he called his “Immortal Beloved.” He never mentioned the person’s name. It remains a mystery.

Wore a Hearing Horn: When Beethoven started losing his hearing, he started wearing a big (like a cone) to try to hear better. He wanted to keep listening to music.

Never Married: Beethoven never got married.

Lived with a Brother: He lived with his brother, who cared for him. But it seems they fought a lot!

Early Life in Bonn

Born on December 16, 1770, in Bonn, Germany, Beethoven grew up in a musical family. His grandfather was a talented musician, and his father, Johann van Beethoven, wanted his son to be famous.

Beethoven showed great musical talent from a young age, and his father hoped Ludwig would become the next Mozart – an Austrian composer and musical prodigy who created over 600 works and one of the greatest composers in history.

Beethoven’s father was a tough teacher, pushing Beethoven hard to practice the piano and violin. All that hard work paid off when Beethoven gave his first public concert at age seven (or eight, say some).

In 1792, Beethoven moved to Vienna, Austria, to study with a famous composer, Joseph Haydn, and soon became recognised for his work.

Losing His Hearing

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In his late 20s, Beethoven noticed something alarming: his hearing was fading. You can imagine how difficult that would have been for him – a musician. By the time he was in his forties, he could barely hear conversations. He was shattered and tried many medications, but nothing worked.

He Didn’t Give Up

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Even though he was going deaf, Beethoven decided to keep composing – writing some of his best music at this time. Imagine writing music but not being able to hear it!

Beethoven Goes Deaf

By his late 40s, Beethoven had lost almost all his hearing. He communicated using notebooks where people wrote down what they wanted to say. But even total deafness didn’t stop him from composing music.

The Magical Late Period

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The final years of Beethoven’s life are known as his “late period,” when his music became even more magical and famous. During this time, he composed some of his most famous works – including the Symphony No. 9, The famous “Ode to Joy” theme that celebrates peace, unity, and brotherhood.

Why Did Beethoven Go Deaf?

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Beethoven’s hearing loss remains a mystery. No one has been able to say for sure, though scientists have come up with some causes, like:

  • Lead Poisoning: Some experts believe lead in his wine or medicine could have damaged his hearing.
  • Autoimmune Disease: Conditions like lupus (swelling in parts of the body) might have attacked his inner ear.
  • Syphilis (an infection): An untreated infection could have affected his nerves.

Recent research, based on hair and bone analysis, shows that it could have been lead poisoning. Some of his hair has been preserved, and when it was tested recently, it was found to contain large amounts of lead. Some say it could have been in the wine he was drinking and also in the medicines he was taking.


Ludwig van Beethoven died on March 26, 1827, at age 56.

A Lesson in Resilience

Beethoven’s story teaches us about resilience and perseverance. He didn’t let his deafness stop him from doing what he loved. His music, filled with emotion and creativity, reminds us that greatness often comes from overcoming challenges. So, next time you listen to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or play “Für Elise” on the piano, think about the composer who couldn’t hear but still changed the world with his music.

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