The Deafness of Beethoven
Pp. 190-194 (5)
William James Maloney
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.
Beethoven, deafness, ear malformation, hearing loss, jaundice,
Mozart, Napoleon, otitis media, Pagetʼs disease, premature birth, presbyacusis,
Salieri, the Eroica Symphony.
New York University College of Dentistry 345 First Avenue New York NY 10010 USA.