Service & Other Industries
Protecting what’s precious:
Keeping workers’ ears healthy
in industries where it matters most
Protecting the hearing of staff in the service industry is a good business strategy.
Why? Because customer service staff with healthy ears means your business is more likely to maintain healthy customer relationships and healthy collegiate relationships too.
We all know that a key part of any role in customer service is being able to communicate easily and effectively with customers, such as taking drinks or food orders or handling a customer complaint over the phone. Workers in the service industry also need to work efficiently in team environments where communicating with workmates is important. For example, during a single shift there will be countless instances where a bar person or cafe worker will need to listen to and respond to directions quickly.
Say what?! Why is there a problem with noise in the service industry?
With clear communication so vital in the service industry, it’s alarming that workers are all too often exposed to harmful noise levels or to potentially noisy hazards over protracted periods of time, such as an eight-hour shift.
Whether it’s bar staff in a pub that plays live music loudly or bouncers at a nightclub or customer service representatives working long shifts handling calls in a call centre: there are risks associated with ongoing exposure to certain noise levels and frequencies.
An example at the louder end of the spectrum is the conditions for staff working at a live music venue. A typical pub band will play at up to 120dB over a two to three hour stint. Yet only 100dB for 15 minutes will be starting to destroy the sensitive nerve cells in a worker’s hearing system. At 120dB the damage is starting at just 7 seconds. It’s easy to see that staff working for hours behind the bar could be at considerable risk.
Another example that is not well known is hearing damage for call centre workers. Acoustic shock has been found to impact on a significant percentage of workers in this sector. Acoustic shock is caused by a high pitched and continuous sound coming through faulty telephone headsets or equipment or as a result of feedback in the telephone line. Also, exposure to loud noises during telephone conversations, particularly listening to angry customers, can agitate call centre workers’ ears and potentially cause long-term, permanent hearing damage.
We’ll help you to take steps in the right direction
There are a range of strategies for addressing the issue of hearing loss in service industry workers. The right strategy for you and your workers will depend on what type of business you operate or work in and the conditions for staff during any given workday or shift.
For example, as a pub owner if you are not sure what the noise levels are when bands are playing at your venue, you can contact us and we will conduct a non-intrusive noise test for you. Another measure that could help you and your bar or security staff is the use of musician ear plugs. Musician ear plugs are designed for musicians who are regularly exposed to loud music, but they’re also a fantastic hearing safety device for bar staff or bouncers who work in environments with loud music. The ear plugs allow the wearer to hear the conversations they need to listen to, but the harmful sound waves are filtered so that potential damage to the delicate hearing system are considerably reduced.
Specialised equipment for call centre workers is also available to minimise the severity of acoustic shock and to maximise the ease with which call centre workers can communicate with their customers.
For more information about how Hearing Link Tasmania can assist you to protect the hearing health of staff in the service industry, please use the menu on the left side of the screen. You can also give us a call on 1800 982 212 to ask us any questions.
Pre-employment checks and hearing screenings in other industries
In many workplaces there are pre-employment checks for new staff and these checks typically involve testing for hearing loss. This is because it’s recognised that the hearing health of staff is important.
For new workers in a range of industries and professions, from newly recruited police officers to scuba diving instructors, having a hearing health check is an important step in the recruitment process to give their employer confidence that they can do their job properly.
Hearing Link Tasmania can provide audiometric screenings for pre-employment checks. We can also provide ongoing checks for workers to monitor their hearing health over a period of time. Please contact us today to find out more information.