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Royal Opera House loses appeal over viola player's hearing

Discussion in 'News' started by MNicolai, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Royal Opera House loses appeal over viola player's hearing

    Pretty ballsy argument of complacency:

    "ROH claimed the artistic value of the music produced by the orchestra meant that some hearing damage to its players was inevitable and justifiable - but that was rejected by the court."
     
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  2. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, we were just talking about this very kind of thing. When I play in a pit orchestra I always wear plugs. My friends think I am nutty, but I am not the one going "huh?" all the time...
     
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  3. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    This is a very interesting case, and one which has sent shockwaves through the professional orchestra world (particularly orchestras who are resident in pits rather than concert platforms). There are several things about it which have got me stumped - why he didn’t get up and let someone know it was a problem as soon as he realised he had a trumpet bell a foot from his head I will never understand. I think what did them in was that they were able to rearrange the pit to reduce the sound levels, so the argument was that they should have gone with that arrangement to start out with. I spend altogether too much of my time looking at sound levels and hearing conservation (due to our awful pit) and in all honesty, having read the two judgements I do feel confident in what we’re doing to protect our players’ hearing. I have seen one case of acoustic shock in our pit (a colleague and I pretty much carried him out of the pit because he was so affected he couldn’t see and could barely walk) but he was diagnosed quickly, I believe given steroids almost immediately, and after a month off he was back at work and fine. It seems like in this case the complainant wasn’t diagnosed for quite some time, which meant the window of time that steroids would have helped was long gone, which has meant longer term issues. If it was NIHL not acoustic shock I think the precedent would lead to a lot more cases being brought, but I don’t think we’ll see that.
     
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  4. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Awareness of hearing loss and enforcement of rules in getting better across many occupations, but there seems to be a complete lack among most musicians. This case may raise awareness for the regulators worldwide, which should help.
     
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  5. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    Depends where you are and what type of music you’re talking about! I’ve got sound level readings going back to about 1994, I think, and I suspect our hearing conservation policy, which is in the union agreement, has been in existence longer (I’d have to go back through and check to be sure). We’ve also been extensively educating our players in the subject for a long time. But, our pit is awful, which has led to this. Our hearing conservation strategies are probably the most comprehensive in the country, closely followed by our Queensland cousins (who have an audiologist among their players) and our Melbourne sister orchestra. We know they work - a brass player told me not so long ago that he had compared his hearing test results from when he started in the orchestra (2005 or 2006 I think) to his most recent one, and there had been almost no change in his hearing.
     
    TheaterEd, FMEng and RonHebbard like this.

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