Ludwig van Beethoven developed tinnitus related to typhoid fever and hearing loss at the age of 26. By the age of 46,he had severe bilateral deafness. The cause of his multiple medical illnesses has remained a mystery- with many suggestions and explanations given
A recent article from the ENT unit at the University of Padua,Italy analyzed a recent 2018 patient in their clinic and attempted to draw conclusions about the deafness and other symptoms of Ludwig van Beethoven.
in addition to his typhoid fever related tinnitus and hearing loss at the age of 26 he also had lifelong struggles with depression, alcohol dependency and multiple gastrointestinal symptoms.
A 2018 patient of the ENT unit presented with progressive hearing loss,paresthesias in her upper limbs as well as abdominal pain.
These Italian researchers, by reviewing Beethoven’s medical conditions, and comparing his medical history to their patient concluded that Beethoven probably suffered from chronic lead poisoning. This probably contributed to both their patient and Beethoven developing hearing loss and gastrointestinal issues.
Historians of Beethoven noted his habit of consuming large amounts of Hungarian wine to which lead was frequently added to improve its flavor!
Recent studies have indicated that Beethoven’s exhumed body showed elevated levels of lead!
There remains significant controversy about concluding that Beethoven’s medical conditions were due to chronic lead poisoning.
In our office in Somerville, NJ, we evaluate many patients with significant hearing loss.
Medical management of hearing loss can result in a better quality of life, increased mental acuity and better balance and coordination.
Comprehensive audiology evaluation in our office can diagnose hearing loss and usually predict the success of hearing aid fitting.
However, we can’t predict if you will become a world famous composer
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