Can:Do Hearing’s partnership with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) involves regularly testing musicians’ hearing and providing them with hearing protection. It’s music to our ears when people pay attention to what they can (and can’t) hear.
Our Senior Audiologist, Lauren Buckley went off to the Adelaide Town Hall where the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra were about to play Beethoven Concert 3 (Symphonies 6 & 7), as pre-concert she was part of a discussion about Beethoven and his hearing loss with Lachlan Bramble, Associate Principle 2nd Violinist.
The ASO wrote, "When you hear Beethoven’s symphonies, you are hearing nothing less than the total transformation of an artform. Haydn and Mozart had written symphonies to be listened to and admired; Beethoven wrote symphonies that grabbed hold of you and took you somewhere. Never before had music been so raw and human, so personal and probing.”
Ludwig van Beethoven was not born deaf, he became deaf over a period of twenty years starting from 1798. He had already built a reputation as a musician and composer. The cause of his deafness remains a mystery, though modern analysis of his DNA revealed health issues including large amounts of lead in his system.
Lachlan spoke about how Beethoven’s hearing loss affected his music. Lauren spoke about what Can:Do Hearing could do for someone in Beethoven’s position if they came and saw us today, how noise such as music can damage hearing and what we can do for musicians (and, in fact, anyone) to try to limit this damage.
Hazardous noise can affect the ability to hear clearly, making it more difficult to hear sounds necessary for working safely such as instructions or warning signals. Communication is also greatly impacted, impeding important conversations with colleagues, family and friends.
Beethoven was said to be quite reclusive at the end of his life and his social isolation due to his hearing loss may have been a large contributing factor. Workers who are required to wear hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs must be provided with a hearing test (paid for by their employer) within the first three months of employment.
Could Beethoven's fate have been different had he been fitted with a hearing aid?
Luckily, composers today don't suffer like Beethoven. Digital hearing aids are sophisticated enough to distinguish between speech and noise and can be programmed to adapt to different environments.
Conductor Douglas Boyd said, “Beethoven was, I believe, interested in the great ideas and philosophies of the human condition. The symphonies seem to me to be a constant argument between friends on the meaning of life. For example, the Fifth traces a journey from tyranny to freedom, whereas the Sixth – the Pastoral – looks at the world from a child’s eye, thanking God for the nature around us. The Seventh’s obsession with dance, from the saddest to the most hedonistic, contrasts with the celebration of the classical world of the Eighth. And finally the Ninth expresses… well everything! – but especially the hope that we can live together in peace.”
Can:Do Hearing provide hearing solutions to the South Australian community and our profits go directly to support the vital work of our charity Can:Do 4Kids.
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