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Letter to Franz Gerhard Wegeler, 29 June 1801
Brief an Wegeler   Beethoven confided in Franz Gerhard Wegeler, a doctor and his boyhood friend, that his hearing had become worse over the last three years. In the theatre he was now forced to move close to the orchestra so as to be able to hear the actors. He was no longer able to distinguish the higher notes of instruments and singers from a distance. When people spoke softly he could hear the sound but was no longer able to distinguish the words. Shouting caused him pain. His ears were filled with whistling and buzzing day and night. Even worse than the physical side-effects seemed to be those on his personality. He felt deeply humiliated. That such a disaster should befall him, a composer at the height of his creativity!

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