Screaming baby takes Qantas Airlines to court
Passenger Jean Barnard, aged 67, who was flying a Qantas Airlines flight claims that a screaming child left her partially deaf and filed a civil complaint against the airline for the physical and emotional damages that she had to suffer because of the child. Barnard claimed that she was boarding a flight in Alice Springs, Australia, in January 2009 when a child screamed four inches distance from her face. Barnard said that blood shot into the back of her head and she had to be taken to a nearby hospital and treated before the take off. According to her complaint, the child’s scream caused her significant injuries, including sensio-neural hearing loss, so she was unable to work for a period of time. Qantas Airlines responded to Barnard’s complaint by saying that the airline was not responsible for a child’s scream, which they can not control because it is an “unexpected or unusual event” not related to the operation of the aircraft. The airline claimed that Barnard suffered the injuries because of an older affection and not from the child’s scream, and suggested that she probably had hearing problems before the incident from the aircraft. Barnard and the airlines reached an agreement.
Regarding the danger coming from a screaming child, the medical professionals say that this type of trauma is extremely uncommon. Dr. John Weigand, an audiologist at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, says that sensio-neural hearing loss, the type of affection that Barnard claimed to have because of the child’s scream, is traditionally known as the type of hearing loss people suffer from when they grow old. He considers very unlikely the hypothesis in which a baby’s scream could cause hearing loss, although the sound is clearly irritating. The bleeding ears are not likely to be caused by a crying child. In fact, people can not produce sounds loud enough to hurt other humans over an extended period of time, the only known case is women that suffer from hearing problems after sleeping with loud-snoring husbands for years in a row. Qantas Airlines also testified that she received hearing aids about a month before the incident, which she denied during her deposition, and her lawyer declined to comment on his client’s medical history. An audiologist said that if she had hearing aids the sound might have been amplified and though more painful.11