19Jan2015

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3 historical people you may not know had hearing loss

Posted on Jan 19, 2015

There are many historical figures who suffered from hearing loss, which proves this condition is no reason not to get ahead in the world.

In fact, why not take inspiration from these well known people who have gone on to carve out strong careers for themselves despite suffering from a hearing impairment?

Thomas Edison

American-born but of Dutch decent, this innovator and businessman went on to hold over 1,000 patents thanks to his many inventions. These included the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture.

This was despite hearing difficulties in both ears caused by scarlet fever attack as a child combined with numerous and untreated middle ear infections. However, others speculate that his hearing troubles stem from an injury from a train accident later in his adulthood. No matter the reason, it is clear this man was very successful despite having difficulty with his hearing. 

Ludwig Van Beethoven

This musician has proven that hearing loss is no obstacle. Despite being almost completely deaf, Beethoven was able to create and play music well, becoming one of the greatest musicians of all time.

He began to lose his hearing in around 1801, according to a website dedicated to him, Beethoven.ws. In fact, he suffered from severe tinnitus and that meant he heard a roar in his ears that made it hard to hear and appreciate music. The reason for his hearing loss has never been defined, but it has been variously attributed to lead poisoning, syphilis and typhus. However, his doctors believed he had a distended inner ear that developed lesions over time. 

Francisco de Goya

This painter is known for immortalising Spain's Bourbon royalty and has been called "the father of modern art". He achieved great things while suffering severe hearing loss.

At age 47 he became ill – this could have been lead poisoning, a variation of Meniere's or something else. He described having tinnitus that sounded like a rushing noise in his ears and said he often felt dizzy and faint.

Despite this he immortalised some of the political events of the time, making use of satire and relying more on his other senses after his deafness.  

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