Royal Opera House loses appeal over viola player's hearing
This is an important UK Court of Appeal decision upholding a case brought by a violist against the ROH for loss of hearing, which could affect many of us (hopefully for the better). Here is the link:
Some pertinent comments by Clive Coleman, BBC legal correspondent:
"In terms of protecting people from hearing damage due to noise, this case effectively brings an orchestra space - or any live music venue for that matter - into line with other working environments such as a factory floor. An orchestra space or gig venue becomes, if you like, a factory where noise is the end product rather than the by-product of an industrial process. ..."
"Employers and organisers will now have to put processes in place to assess noise and anticipate sudden rises in noise levels. They will then have to take all reasonably practical steps to prevent injury resulting from the noise. The music won't stop, but it could get a fair bit quieter."
I use special earplugs and my ears are not bad for my 70 years.
Sometimes earplugs work, and sometimes they just get in the way.
@ Adrian Heath
According to previous reports he was indeed wearing earplugs. It's understandable that a viola player from one of the desks closest to the brass was the first musician to successfully sue his employer on these grounds, and interesting that his symptoms were of "acoustic shock syndrome" (often suggested to be partially psychological in origin) rather than objectively verifiable traumatic hearing loss.
For a Messiah rehearsal, I was in the back of the Viola section, directly in front of the trumpets. The conductor stopped and said, " do we need the sound baffles?" The lead trumpet said " that's OK, the Violas aren't bothering us". When OSHA discovers that musicians also have repetitive motion injuries, we will all be out of a job.
A year ago I was asked to join a local community orchestra which interestingly was set up many years ago for the benefit of musically minded staff in a local hospital, and had, and still does, have its rehearsals on Sunday evenings because it was the only time that busy medics and nurses were available for rehearsal in the old days. It is also convenient for me.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.