Viola player Chris Goldscheider who suffered a life-changing hearing injury at a Royal Opera House rehearsal has won a landmark High Court judgement against his employer in a case which will have major implications for the entertainment industry and the health and safety of musicians.
It is the first time a judge has pronounced on the music industry’s legal obligations towards musicians’ hearing.
On 1 September 2012, Mr Goldscheider was seated directly in front of the brass section of the orchestra for a rehearsal of Wagner’s opera Die Walkure in orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House.
During that rehearsal, the noise levels exceeded 130 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine. His hearing was irreversibly damaged.
Mr Goldscheider claimed damages for acoustic shock, which left him experiencing symptoms including tinnitus, hyperacusis – an increased sensitivity to sound – and dizziness. He now has to wear ear defenders to perform basis …