Viola player wins legal case over orchestral ear damage

MarketsAssociated Press

Britain's High Court has ruled in favor of a viola player who says he suffered irreparable hearing damage from loud music at rehearsals, in a case likely to reverberate through the music world.

Christopher Goldscheider says he suffered "acoustic shock" from sitting in front of an 18-strong brass section during rehearsals for Richard Wagner's "Ring Cycle" at London's Royal Opera House in 2012.

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His lawyer, Theo Huckle, told the court that Goldscheider was exposed to an average noise level of 91 decibels over a three-hour period. Despite wearing earplugs, he suffered long-term effects including hypersensitivity to noise that forced him to give up playing and listening to music.

On Wednesday, judge Nicola Davies found the opera company had breached workplace noise rules. The amount of damages will be assessed later.