Everybody recognizes that Ludwig van Beethoven was a musical genius. But few realize the adversity he had to overcome to achieve greatness. In his twenties, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. Because he couldnt feel the music as he once had, on one occasion he said his fingers became “thick.” His hearing problems haunted him into the middle years of his life, but he kept it a guarded secret. By the time he reached his fifties, Beethoven was completely deaf. But he refused to give up. He was once overheard shouting at the top of his voice, “I will take life by the throat!” Many of his biographers believe the only reason Beethoven remained productive for so long was this determination.