How Did Beethoven “Hear” and Compose His Music After He Went Deaf?

“Fun Facts Saturday”

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is one of my favorite composers.  Tragically, he went completely deaf by 44. There could be no greater personal trial.  Yet, he persevered. 

Years later he composed his Symphony No. 9 (Choral Symphony, “Ode to Joy”) This is considered Beethoven’s greatest work.

I have long wondered, “How did he “hear” in order to compose masterpieces after going deaf?” I recently learned the answer.

Beethoven, a genius, discovered that by attaching a metal rod to his piano, and clenching it in his teeth, he could hear the piano almost perfectly. 

This process is called bone conduction.  

The vibrations from the piano transferred via the metal rod to his jawbone and skull. Then, the inner ears picked up the signal with no distortion.

The genius Beethoven is credited with discovering/inventing bone conduction.


(“Bone Conduction Headphones” are now available for the hearing impaired.”)

One of the keys to success is grit, perseverance and enduring to the end.

(Other great examples of overcoming great adversity – Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John Milton, Renoire, Nelson Mandela, Joseph Smith)

(See: “Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), “Ludwig van Beethoven;” “Bone Conduction,” Wikipedia; “Bone conduction,” Kieron Monks, May 29, 2014,


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