As a headset wearer you are vulnerable to acoustic shock. Acoustic shock is an incident caused by a sudden, unexpected loud or high pitched sound via a headset. These sounds include alarms or sirens, fax machine dial tones, faulty telephone lines, system feedback or interference, or malicious calls. Here are some common myths about acoustic shock.
Myth 1: I cannot get acoustic shock from sounds below 118 dB
Wrong! Research from Australia and Denmark suggests that the current recommended safeguard limit of 118dB will not prevent all instances of acoustic shock damage. An acoustic incident triggering an acoustic shock is frequently a tone at the level of 82 to 110 dB. Thus, the 118db safeguard limit will not protect you from acoustic shock.
Myth 2: My headset protects me from acoustic shock
Wrong! The average human pain threshold stands at 110dB, making any noise above 110dB painful for the person subjected to them. Levels up to 118dB are allowed by headset noise limiters, making you susceptible to acoustic shock incidents.
Myth 3: The Noise at Work Regulation protects me from acoustic shock
Wrong! Not all USB and PC headsets have the same 118dB cut off as telecom headsets do. PC headsets are outside of the standard telecom legislation used for traditional contact centre headsets. Some PC headsets comply with the 118dB upper limit. Some do not. If you are using USB headsets it is vital that you check the equipment that you are using to safeguard your hearing long term.
Myth 4: Noise at work amplifiers protect me from acoustic shock
Wrong! Noise at work amplifiers will only ensure you comply with the average 85dB sound exposure over an 8 hour working day. Most amplifiers will let sounds up to 118dB through, meaning you could be subjected to an acoustic shock incident.
Myth 5: Acoustic shock will not have long lasting effects
Wrong! Acoustic shock is a very serious issue. Symptoms vary from temporary impairment such as pain, hearing loss, nausea, headaches and loss of balance to more serious and long-term issues such as tinnitus or hypersensitivity to everyday sounds. Sufferers can also experience fatigue, panic attacks and anxiety for many months after an acoustic shock incident.
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