CASE UPDATE: PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN SUCCEEDS IN CLAIM FOR ACOUSTIC SHOCK

8th November 2018

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In March 2018 we reported on the judgment in Goldscheider v Royal Opera House Convent Garden Foundation [2018] EWHC 687 (QB) which involved a viola player who had succeeded in a claim for damages against the Royal Opera House, after suffering hearing damage at a rehearsal of Wagner's Die Walkure in 2012– please see our original article for further details https://www.geldards.com/professional-musician-succeeds-in-claim-for-acoustic-shock.aspx

It has been reported this week that the ROH has been granted permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal. The case has attracted a lot of attention as it is the first case to consider the application of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 to the entertainment sector.

As the decision stands, musicians are required to wear hearing protection during almost all performances and rehearsals which has far reaching consequences not only for the entertainment sector but for any environment in which live music is performed, including schools or community groups.

The Court at first instance also rejected the ROH’s argument that acoustic shock is not a medically diagnosable condition. This poses a real concern for employers across many industries as acoustic shock can develop as a result of instantaneous exposure to levels of noise below the levels currently specified by the 2005 Regulations – it is reported that the music at Mr Goldscheider’s rehearsal peaked at a volume well below the 2005 Regulations.

In the circumstances this appeal has been eagerly awaited and it has been reported that the appeal will take place before the summer recess next year.

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