The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People

The Deafness of Beethoven

Author(s): William James Maloney

Pp: 190-194 (5)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608059362114010036

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Ludwig van Beethoven was the greatest musical composer that the world has ever known. In a tragic twist of irony, the creator of the most beloved musical compositions became deaf in the prime of his life and career. Many historians have attempted to determine the cause of this deafness. The most logical diagnosis is Pagetʼs disease. Pagetʼs disease is a chronic metabolic disorder that is characterized by the abnormal formation and resorption of bone. The disease most likely caused Beethovenʼs deafness by compressing his eighth cranial nerve.

Keywords: Beethoven, deafness, ear malformation, hearing loss, jaundice, Mozart, Napoleon, otitis media, Pagetʼs disease, premature birth, presbyacusis, Salieri, the Eroica Symphony.

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