Acoustic Shock Reminder from Clement Clarke

As we have not covered for the subject for some time we thought it would be a good idea to remind readers of the need for organisations to protect their employees that use headsets from acoustic shock.

Acoustic shock primarily occurs in call centre environments in which operatives wear telephone headsets throughout the majority of their working day; it can result in tinnitus, loss of hearing, anxiety and in some cases clinical anxiety and depression.
Injury related to acoustic shock happens when the headset wearer is unexpectedly subjected to a loud or shrill noise through the headset, often deliberately inflicted by a disgruntled caller.

As call centres have become an increasingly large employment sector, dealing with everything from insurance claims to NHS symptom advice, these attacks on unsuspecting workers have caused grave concern.

There are, of-course, health and safety regulations specifying measures that a call-centre owner/employer must carry out to ensure the safety of his workforce, and EU Noise at Work Directives also highlight vigilance against the effects of acoustic shock in the workplace.

As a result of acoustic shock, compensation claims have increased dramatically and call centre owners have had to become far more aware of the risks to their employees, and of all the issues relating to call centre management.

Clement Clarke Communications has launched a new Acoustic Limiter device developed for the call centre market place providing hearing protection for call centre employees.

The New Acoustic Limiter is a low power, high performance DSP based platform with integrated voice tags for quick and easy setup. It offers the user a variety of options including selectable voice equalisation, the first of its kind to be integrated in to such a product, allowing the user to select a setting that corrects muffled or hi-pitched audio feeds.

The new device continuously monitors and records the acoustic exposure the user has received through the headset and alerts the user when levels are approaching maximum daily limits via voice announcements allowing the user or call centre management to take the most appropriate action, such as a short break away from call handling.

It incorporates sophisticated acoustic incident detection technology, attenuating a wide range of acoustic incidents, including; high energy loud acoustic signals, malicious screams, shouts and whistles, short duration high pitched signal, high energy single and dual tones (DTMF) signals and fax / modem signals
When one of these acoustic incidents is detected, the device filters this part of the audio feed, preserving the speech and all this is performed in the background transparent to the user.