To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the great classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), we point out how his hearing loss affected him and how the primitive hearing aids at that time helped mitigate his hearing loss. From the age of 26, Beethoven began to suffer from a fluctuating, progressive hearing loss (“my hearing grew worse and worse”), This started in his left ear (“in my left ear, with which this illness of my ears had started”), where he had difficulty hearing higher pitched tones (“I don’t hear the high notes of the instruments and voices”) and words (“Sometimes, I cannot hear people who speak quietly, I can hear the sounds, but not the words”) and associated with tinnitus (“my ears, they still keep buzzing and humming day and night”) and loudness recruitment (“if someone yells, it is unbearable to me”).
However, in spite of his hearing loss, Beethoven never lost his love for music and continued composing music, at times using some of the acoustic hearing aids that were just being developed. We analyze and describe the ear trumpets, and the resonant plate that engineer Johan Nepomuk Maelzel and piano-maker Conrad Graf, respectively, constructed to try to improve Beethoven's hearing. Moreover, we discuss the possible use of a wooden drumstick Beethoven might have used to improve his perception of the piano's sound.