Viola Player Wins Lawsuit Against Royal Opera House Over Hearing Loss

Viola Player Wins Lawsuit Against Royal Opera House Over Hearing Loss

Trumpets in ‘Die Walkure’ were as loud as a jet engine.

London’s Royal Opera House has lost an appeal over the life-changing hearing damage caused to a viola player at a rehearsal of Wagner’s ‘Die Walkure,’ BBC News reports.

The Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the ROH failed to take reasonable steps to protect Christopher Goldscheider’s hearing during a rehearsal in 2012, and also failed to act on dangerous noise levels until after Mr. Goldscheider’s injury, the court ruled.

Mr Goldscheider won a landmark High Court case last year, in which he sued the opera house, claiming damages for acoustic shock after being exposed to noise levels exceeding 130 decibels.

It was the first time acoustic shock had been recognized in the UK as a condition that could be compensated by a court.

In its appeal, the ROH claimed that some hearing damage to its players was inevitable and justifiable, but the court rejected that reasoning.

At the rehearsal in question, Mr. Goldscheider was seated directly in front of the brass section with the bell of a trumpet immediately behind his right ear. Noise levels reached 132 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine.

His hearing was irreversibly damaged.

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