School Noise Impairs Hearing of Cafeteria Lady, Damages Are Paid

In the autonomous community of Basque, Spain, lies the town of Portugalete where a cafeteria assistant, under the employment of GastronomiaCantabrica, suffered from a hearing loss due to her job.

The lady is said to have been working at the school for 30 years, being exposed to the noise from children and banging cutleries which caused her to develop bilateral sensorineural hearing impairment. The noise during the buzzing lunchtime hours can reach 80 decibels or more, enough for some to be diagnosed with the cafeteria lady’s condition after habitual exposure.

However, her hearing loss did not affect her ability to recognize speech. So, even though it had significant effects on her hearing, it was not considered disabling. As a result, she was awarded €1,800 for the damages. The amount will be paid by the Spanish Social Security and her employer’s insurance company.

The sentence was given in Bilbao court. A call from the Spanish Workers’ Commission followed the sentence, saying that companies should monitor noise levels in schools, especially in refectories so they can manage and mitigate damaging noise levels.

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