Ludwig van Beethoven, 1819, von Joseph Karl Stieler

Beethoven’s hearing disorder could probably be cured today, scientists concluded at a medical-musical symposium organized by the Beethoven Jubiläums GmbH in Bonn, Germany. Please read the press release and download the E-Book free of charge.

« The Beethoven phenomenon is multifaceted – and raises many questions. What was the cause of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hearing loss? How would modern medicine deal with his illness? What is the relationship between the increasing hearing disorder of the great composer and his musical creative process? What effect did the composer have on his time and beyond? These and other questions were explored by numerous scientists, doctors and specialists on October 16th and 17th, 2020 during the symposium « Ludwig van Beethoven: the Heard and the Unhearing » at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB).

The results draw a complex, interdisciplinary picture from then to now – a kaleidoscope of scientific, medical, and psychosocial dimensions around the person of Ludwig van Beethoven, his work, and his impact. Thus, musicological perspectives on Beethoven were examined and classified in their historical dimension, the political and cosmopolitan impact of Beethoven and his works were examined more closely, and aspects of his vocal compositions were analysed with reference to his medical history. A special focus was also placed on the causes and effects of his hearing disorder and current treatment options – with particular results:

The cause of Beethoven’s hearing disorder, which increased with age, can be narrowed down based on the facts that have been handed down and can possibly also be treated today. Scientists currently see otosclerosis (a disease of the bone surrounding the inner ear) or sensorineural hearing loss (degeneration of sensory cells in the inner ear) as possible causes – both diseases can be treated with conventional and surgical measures. Even in case of serious findings, highly complex hearing implants such as the cochlear implant could have helped Ludwig van Beethoven. »

Download links for the E-Book „Ludwig van Beethoven: the Heard and the Unhearing“

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