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Risks and working conditions in call centers (Silva et al., 2022)

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posted on 20.01.2022, 21:41 by Bárbara Gabriela Silva, Denise Gonzaga, Clayton Henrique Rocha, Raquel Fornaziero Gomes, Renata Rodrigues Moreira, Sylvio R. Bistafa, Alessandra Giannella Samelli
Purpose: This study evaluates the exposure of call center operators (CCOs) to occupational noise, its association with auditory and nonauditory symptoms, and the feasibility of monaural and binaural headsets.
Method: We measured the noise exposure sound pressure levels (SPLs) with the microphone-in-real-ear technique and administered a questionnaire on auditory/nonauditory symptoms and headset preference.
Results: We assessed 79 CCOs with normal hearing. Overall, 98.7% of the participants reported at least one auditory symptom, and 88.6% reported at least one nonauditory symptom after using the headset. We found significant associations between the headset volume setting and the number of auditory and nonauditory symptoms and between sharp increases in sound level and tinnitus. The microphone-in-real-ear diffuse-field–related SPLs with monaural headsets (85.5 dBA) were significantly higher than those with binaural headsets (83.1 dBA). Binaural headsets were the preference of 84.8% of the subjects. The SPLs of the binaural headsets were significantly lower than those of the monaural headsets in the subjects who preferred the binaural headsets.
Conclusions: CCOs with normal hearing reported auditory and nonauditory symptoms, highlighting the need for attention and further investigation. The binaural headsets were preferable, as they were associated with a lower SPL and a higher call quality.

Supplemental Material S1. Mean (standard deviation) sound pressure levels captured by the MIRE technique by frequency between the two measurements (open ear and closed ear) for each headset.

Silva, B. G., Gonzaga, D., Rocha, C. H., Gomes, R. F., Moreira, R. R., Bistafa, S. R., & Samelli, A. G. (2022). Noise exposure, headsets, and auditory and nonauditory symptoms in call center operators. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJA-21-00088


This study was financed by CAPES – Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (00.889.834/000.108).