Ludwig van Beethoven himself described his hearing loss as an "exile". Modern medicine as we know it today could not have healed Beethoven but could have helped him. In the first years a simple hearing device would have been sufficient to alleviate Beethoven's misery. If the hearing device had reached its limits, a modern hearing aid could have been potentially surgically implanted in his middle ear (middle ear implant). In all likelihood Beethoven would have been able to hear well again with the help of a cochlea implant (CI). Even if the auditory nerve was impacted, today Beethoven would have been helped with a brainstem implant directly passing on information to the brain.
Today musicians can continue to do their jobs well and pursue their passions thanks to the technology of MED-EL. The Finnish woman Laura Korhonen (34) suffered from bouts of acute hearing loss starting at the age of 25. Today she is deaf in both ears. She could not continue her successful work as a singer and singing teacher. Today her cochlea implant allows her to hear again. The ambitious hobby violinist Walter Widler (62) has been hard of hearing since his early childhood. In 2002 he was more or less deaf. He decided to get a cochlea implant and can play the violin again now, hardly making any mistakes. "99 percent of the tones are right since I have started working with the special music settings on the processor", he says.
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