As you may know, Beethoven spent the last decade of his life almost completely deaf. That made me wonder :
- Was he a conductor ?
- Did he assist to the rehearsals of his concerts ?
There is a very funny story where Beethoven (whilst conducting one of his symphonies I believe) slightly accelerated through a few bars of the music whilst the orchestra were playing a very quiet section. He failed to hear that they were still on the quiet section, nowhere near finished when Beethoven all of a sudden threw his hands in the air, conducting away at a more louder moment where he thought he was in the score. It took him a few seconds to notice that actually he couldn’t hear the more tender section.
Aside from this, he also contemplated suicide many a time, as he found it difficult to content with everyone knowing him as the man with an excellent ear for music, and now this excellent ear, that everyone loved him for - was failing.
He did have access to a few devices like an ear trumpet but they weren’t of much use to him.
There is a great video on YouTube about his personal life story. Well worth a watch, or two or three.