Underwater piling was undertaken in 2003 in Southampton Water on the South Coast of England. Monitoring was simultaneously undertaken of the waterborne sound from impact and vibropiling and its effects on brown trout in cages at increasing distances from the piling. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) were used as a model for salmon (Salmo salar), which were the species of interest but were not readily available. No obvious signs of trauma that could be attributed to sound exposure were found in any fish examined, from any of the cages. No increase in activity or startle response was seen to vibropiling. Analysis using the dBht metric indicated that the noise at the nearest cages during impact piling reached levels at which salmon were expected to react strongly. However, the brown trout showed little reaction. An audiogram of the brown trout was measured by the Auditory Brainstem Response method, which indicated that the hearing of the brown trout was less sensitive than that of the salmon. Further analysis indicated that this accounted for the relative lack of reaction, and demonstrated the importance of using the correct species of fish as a model when assessing the effect of noise.