“Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven
This famous quote by Beethoven marks both the difficulty and the possibility of a genius. It is an inspiration for all the people who have lost some of the qualities but still persist in their work, resulting in creating wonder. For Beethoven, even after the loss of hearing, the music wasn’t erased from the mind and it kept on resonating in his mind.
Here’s a list of five world famous musicians who were detected with significant hearing loss at the peak of their musical career. Though hearing loss came all of a sudden- as a challenge, it couldn’t restrain these musical geniuses from composing their masterpieces and performing at world’s greatest concerts.
Ludwig van Beethoven: The virtuoso pianist could sense difficulty in hearing when he was in his late 20s. The degree of hearing loss started to develop and completely deafened the artist in a couple of years. For about a span of 15 years without hearing, he composed innumerous symphonies. The ‘Ninth Symphony’, considered as one of his masterpieces was also composed at this time.
Pete Townshend: The English guitarist and songwriter, one of the members of the rock band ‘The Who’, was affected by tinnitus and partial deafness as a result of noise induced hearing loss. The exposure to loud music was the reason for hearing loss of Townshend and all his co-members of ‘The Who’. Despite the damage, he went on to rock the stage in all of his live concerts. Some of his unforgettable songs are ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Let My Love Open the Door’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ etc.
Brian Wilson: At a very young age, Wilson lost most of the hearing in his right ear. With his remaining hearing, he composed some of the world’s greatest music, including ‘Pet Sounds’, the “most progressive pop album ever”, as declared by the British publications. Needless to say, Wilson’s popularity owes to the complex yet sweet melodies in his compositions.
Eric Clapton: The legendary guitarist was born with ear problems, which was initially controlled with the use of hearing aids. In spite of the difficulties, his amazing tunes created history in the world of blues-rock.
Ozzy Osbourne: The lead vocalist of ‘Black Sabbath’ is also a sufferer of mild hearing loss, which is caused by loud stage concerts for decades. In an interview to the Sunday Times, London, Osbourne puts in: "I suffer from permanent tinnitus . . . which means I've got this constant ringing in my ears, which has also made me somewhat deaf... It's like this Whee! noise in my head all the time.”
Unlike today, there were no such facilities for any effective hearing loss treatment, and people had to live a dark life back then.