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The Beethoven Story

Ludwig Van Beethoven, the legendary pianist and composer, began to experience some deficiency in his life as he reached his 30s. Apparently, this deficiency started in the form of a “roar” inside the ears (which is often called tinnitus). Due to this condition, Beethoven found it difficult to grab the correct forms of sounds (particularly in terms of music). Apart from that, this condition made him to avoid most of the conversations too.

Although the cause for Beethoven’s deafness is hardly known, there are various theories circulating about it today. Poisoning, typhus and syphilis are some of the common assumptions associated with Beethoven’s hearing defect. However, apart from those, some people assume that the main cause for his hearing issue is one of his own habits; he used to immerse his head in cold water in order to stay awake. Gradually, Beethoven’s hearing loss became severe and he ended up in total deafness. Due to the severity of his hearing issue, it is believed that Beethoven had to ‘see’ the applause of the audience at the premiere of the Ninth Symphony. Depicting how depressive his condition was, Beethoven even considered committing suicide. However, at a particular time, he went to a small Austrian town (Heiligenstadt) leaving Vienna and decided to dedicate his life for music. This courageous man continued his great music work even with his severe hearing issue. Unfortunately, his last attempt to perform in the public (Emperor) was a failure ending his legendary career.

Despite all the other assumptions of diseases like syphilis and causes like poisoning, it seems like it was the condition called Swimmer’s Ear caused Beethoven’s deafness. Swimmer’s ear is one of four different types of ear infections. Like any other ear infection, swimmer’s ear too can lead to hearing loss although the infection is different from a typical infection. In fact, Swimmer’s Ear is an infection that occurs in the outer ear. When infected with Swimmer’s Ear, the victim will hardly hear the sound due to the fluid and other substances clogged in the outer ear (the sound doesn’t reach the eardrum). The situation can get worse if water enters ear canal; Beethoven’s habit of immersing his head in cold water might have worsened his condition.

Diagnosing a hearing defect with pure tone test.

Hearing loss is not something unique for Beethoven; it can happen to any of us due to many reasons. There are plenty of reasons around us to cause hearing issues. In addition to all the precautions you must adhere, it is important for you to diagnose the issue as soon as possible. Pure tone test is one of the most recommended methods to identify the hearing issue.

What is pure tone test?

Pure tone test is a test carried out by an expertise heath care professional. He or she will use a various number of pure tones either via earplugs or headphones to identify if there is something wrong with the hearing ability. If diagnosed, your healthcare professional will advise you about the further steps.