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Marjax

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Reply with quote  #1 
I work at a call center with a headset. On the 12 of July a very loud screech came over the line that caused me to swiftly remove my head set. Loud noises from a phone are fairly common even though this one was louder than normal so i laughed it off and kept taking calls even though my ears rang a bit. The next day my ears hurt and I was a bit dizzy. Went home, took the weekend off. During the weekend the dizziness stopped but i found the ear pain came with certain noises, dull for fans and ac, sharpish for conversations and other louder noises. When I got back on the phones that Monday I found out just how sharpish voices could get.  It takes a lot of effort to listen to some peoples voices and keep a 'pleasant' tone for a customer. I found that if the voice is particularly grating the mussels  in my neck will tighten up painfully and will continue to hurt until a few minutes after the voice stops. Sometimes this makes me dizzy as well.

Talked to an ENT today. The poked and prodded until announcing that nothing looked amiss with my hearing, they didn't know what to make of the dizzy symptoms and as I've only had the issue for about 10 days or so. said in time the sensitivity should go away or become accustomed to and so for the time being we should wait and see, in his words "No treatment means there's no side effects". Admittedly I was a bit annoyed at having the issue brushed off and failed to ask him directly.  The question of course loops back then, how long does one wait and see if the noise sensitivity goes away or if it'll be a bit more persistent?
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DanMalcore

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Dan
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Reply with quote  #2 
I would agree with your ENT that you should give your ears some time to recover.  I would encourage you to wait 60 days.  Individuals that are sound sensitive sometimes have a hard time working at call centers using headsets.  The tension you are experiencing in your neck is a stress reaction - very normal.

If things do not settle down I would encourage you to see a qualified clinician from this list:

http://www.chat-hyperacusis.net/post/trt-worldwide-list-of-clinicians-retraining-therapy-3334680

Dizziness could be a sign of Meniere's but it is too early to tell.  It is very possible this might all go away.  If working with a headset remains stressful for you it might be time to consider other options in your career choice.

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Marjax

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hey, thanks for getting back to me! Two months then, I'll give it a try.
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Kribu

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Reply with quote  #4 
Marjax, my sympathies. I too sustained my injury while working in a call center environment. Customer service first, yes, alas...I've been "resting" for four months now. Some days are better than others. I have to use hearing aids in order to do my job, but haven't been able to wear them since injury, so can't even try to work. I've done some searching on internet abt call center specific injuries and found some interesting reports. Bottom line (my interpretation) is that although sound levels are "capped" on equipment, we often have to increase volume beyond "recommended" levels due to call quality, caller voice quality, environmental interference- in center and caller environment. What I found most interesting is the paper by Dr. Neil Bauman "Hidden Hearing Loss" found at hearing loss help.com. did you know that our auditory nerve fibers are specialized for 1. working in quiet, or 2.highly focused in-noise work.and gee, group two is more susceptible to dammage by noise-unpredictable, unexpected noise. I shared this article with my Dr., Lawyer, and Worker's Comp people. It really helped explain why my hearing (pure tone thresholds) didn't change, yet my sensitivity and tolerance did. I assume you are also going through workers comp? Don't give up. I have 2nd opinion specialist appt in September, so "resting" till then. My advice, keep some kind of routine, use the time to explore a hobby or project, stay in touch with positive friends. Consider it an exploration of the human condition...I've learned a lot since this happened about a lot of things-related and unrelated. Yes, the bad days are scary, discouraging, and exhausting. But know you are not alone, not crazy, and not "faking it". Would love to keep up with u as fellow call-center folk. Best wishes for your exploration!
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Marjax

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hey, Kribu! 😊

Yeah it's a bit tough especially when you get the feeling that you're on the wrong end of a game of Russian roulette. The doc didn't approve any time off so I'm slugging it out. My adherence is shot but at least my direct sup understands the problem and is forgiving of the availability toggles. The hardest ones are the really quiet callers that you turn up to hear only for them to drop and give you a really loud person. 😝

In the interest of swapping articles, this site is the one I used to convince my work I'm not crazy. I printed out the PDF's and pretty much made a presentation on the matter to convince them to make an incident report http://www.dineenwestcottmoore.com.au/specialist-services/acoustic-shock#what-is-as

I do agree on engaging with a hobby and I nearly always have something to fiddle with. My current task is teaching myself ribbon embroidery which I'm going to use on a tablet case I'm making so that'll be interesting.

But do keep in touch, I'd be interested to know how your check up goes and things that work for you. 😊
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