Famous Deaf Persons who Changed the World!

Published on October 20, 2021 524 views

Believe it or not, some of the greatest accomplishments in our world’s history were achieved by Deaf people.  Past and present figures from the arts, science, and literature fields have gotten to the top with hearing loss and created the most incredible work that is enjoyed today and will continue to be enjoyed for decades to come.  We’ve put together a list of the 5 most influential Deaf people, some of whom turned deafness into an advantage. These may surprise you!
Famous Deaf Persons who Changed the World!


Ludwig Van Beethoven


This name is probably the most well-known name all around the world! Beethoven is the most important musician since Mozart, as a brilliant, virtuoso pianist. he was born in December 1770 in the city of Bonn in Germany. his exact date of birth is uncertain but Beethoven was baptized on December 17, 1770.  As a matter of law and custom, babies at the time were baptized within 24 hours of birth, so December 16 is his most likely birthdate. Beethoven, who struggled with sums and spelling his entire life, was at best an average student, and some biographers have hypothesized that he may have had mild dyslexia. As he put it himself, "Music comes to me more readily than words."  He had his first public recital on March 26 when he had only 7 years old!

At young ages, at the same time as he was composing some of his most immortal works, he was struggling to come to terms with a shocking and terrible fact, one that he tried desperately to conceal: He was going deaf. 

Beethoven revealed in a heart-wrenching 1801 letter to his friend Franz Wegeler, "I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people: I am deaf. If I had any other profession, I might be able to cope with my infirmity; but in my profession, it is a terrible handicap."

The exact reason for his deafness is not clear. However, it didn’t cause him to stop making miracles of his life!

From 1803 to 1812, what is known as his "middle" or "heroic" period, he composed an opera, six symphonies, four solo concerti, five string quartets, six-string sonatas, seven piano sonatas, five sets of piano variations, four overtures, four trios, two sextets, and 72 songs. 

The most famous among these were the haunting Moonlight Sonata, symphonies No. 3-8, the Kreutzer violin sonata, for Elise and Fidelio, his only opera. 

In terms of the astonishing output of superlatively complex, original, and beautiful music, this period in Beethoven's life is unrivaled by any of any other composers in history. And all of these happened after his deafness!

But If he couldn't hear, how did he write music?

Beethoven had heard and played music for the first three decades of his life, so he knew how instruments and voices sounded and how they worked together. His deafness was a slow deterioration, rather than a sudden loss of hearing, so he could always imagine in his mind what his compositions would sound like.

Beethoven's housekeepers remembered that, as his hearing got worse, he would sit at the piano, put a pencil in his mouth, touching the other end of it to the soundboard of the instrument, to feel the vibration of the note.

In his early works, when Beethoven could hear the full range of frequencies, he made use of higher notes in his compositions.  As his hearing failed, he began to use the lower notes that he could hear more clearly. Works including the Moonlight Sonata, his only opera Fidelio and six symphonies were written during this period. The high notes returned to his compositions towards the end of his life which suggests he was hearing the works take shape in his imagination. He finally died at the age of  56, in 1827. He remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music. He is one of the miracles of history!