Since you have not had a chance to prepare for it, your unprepared hearing system will undergo stress, which can translate into a number of short and long-term side effects.
According to research carried out by the Australian Services Union, repeated exposure to these acoustic shocks – which are accumulative – can lead to a range of potentially debilitating symptoms including, nausea, disturbed balance and vertigo, numbness and twitching of the face and shoulders, tension headaches, intolerance to any loud sound, anxiety, depression and agoraphobia. This is in addition to the immediate pain experienced and more long-term degenerative hearing loss.
As the incidence of acoustic shock grows so does the amount of money that sectors such as the call centre industry shells out in compensation to affected staff members. The latest figures suggest that over £2 million has already been paid out in out-of-court settlements in the UK alone. Globally this figure is said to have reached £10 million. This is of particular concern for the smaller call centres that have less than 50 employees who make up almost 60% of the call centres in UK.
This is a growing problem, and as technologies such as VOIP and Bluetooth continue to grow in popularity, it is one that will start affecting more than just staff at call centres. Headset usage is growing and so it is important that any reseller of headset and telephony equipment understands the nature of the threat and how it can be overcome. This could be further exaggerated by high quality inthe- ear headsets already available in the market.
The challenge that resellers may face is that although many headset manufacturers claim that their equipment protects against acoustic shock they do not provide a complete solution. Up until recently it was believed that there was a direct relationship between volume and the severity of acoustic shocks. Manufacturers of headset equipment have therefore sought to limit the volume of sound that passes through their headsets. This in fact, will provide little to no protection. Additionally the reduction of volume of the headset renders the equipment impractical for the high ambient noise environments of call centres, where operators need to raise the volume at peak times in order to hear the caller and provide a high level of customer service.
The solution is to remove the acoustic shocks themselves and to do this it is necessary to recognise such sounds and eliminate them. At Tecteon we have been focusing on this problem for some time and using a complex algorithm we have managed to create a control device that sits in between the headset and the console that picks up acoustic shocks before they can do any harm and eradicates them.
The real key to solving this problem, however, is education. The call centre industry in particular is relatively young and it has taken some time for the symptoms to be identified and understood. Too many companies are therefore still unaware of the threat of acoustic shock. Resellers that are serious about helping their customers fully benefit from the technology available should check out the Acoustic Safety Programme.
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