United Kingdom

Acoustic Trauma

In the United Kingdom, there has been an increase in cases of “acoustic trauma” suffered by call center workers. According to the publication Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, when a sound hits 118 decibels or higher, the headset the call center worker is wearing should not transmit the sound to the headset wearer, but not all headsets have built-in noise limiting features. Call center workers, it says, are at particular risk of acoustic shock. In 2006 a report concluded 700 people in the UK suffered acoustic shock, with some $32 million paid out in compensation. U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research showed millions of workers at call and dispatch centers suffer acoustic trauma from a spike in noise levels, such as headset feedback or a sudden change in volume.

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