Importance of Headset Hygiene for Keeping the Workplace Healthy

We all know that using a telecom headset in the workplace is best for comfort as well as the efficiency of the employees. However, how many of us are aware of the significance of good headset hygiene practices? Unfortunately, not many!

There have been numerous studies to prove that using telecom headsets in place of traditional telephone handsets causes a reduction in the neck, back, and shoulder pain. However, it should be noted that to maintain proper health and hygiene in the workplace these headsets must be maintained regularly.

According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, a typical telephone has up to 25,127 germs per square inch. The study also declares that an average telephone has 500 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat. These germs and bacteria include – Salmonella, E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus. All of these bacteria are potentially dangerous and infectious and are the ones that are found on-ear cushions.

Below are some of the questions and answers related to headsets and how to take care of them.

Can good hygiene help in the prevention of the disease that can spread through headsets?
Yes, good hygiene helps in the prevention of the disease by killing the disease-causing bacteria and thus aiding in maintaining proper health, beauty, comfort, etc.

Can you get ear infections from your Headset?
Yes! According to UK Health & Safety, as headsets are worn so intensively, there has been an increased risk of infection due to it. Therefore, it is recommended that each individual has their own personal headset to avoid the sharing of headsets. If the sharing of headsets is extremely necessary, then each user must be given their own personal foam ear cushions.

Who shares headsets? Telecom headsets are used almost everywhere. They are not only used in offices, but people working from home also use them. They are also used in the training and education sector, where people often share them. However, the good news is that with the growing awareness about the negative effects of sharing a handset, the sharing has decreased, like in call centres. As more and more sectors use wireless headsets each person gets his/her own headset top, so only the headset bottom is shared.

How to prevent ear infections? You should avoid sharing headsets. Moreover, they should be wiped regularly with an anti-bacterial wipe.

COVID-19 can last for days on some surfaces. Therefore, it is extremely important to remove windshields (microphone covers) from the microphone boom so that the complete surface can be wiped. Foam windshields can become a breeding ground for germs, and although they can be washed with soap, it is important to completely dry them before putting them back on the microphone so to protect the microphone from being damaged. Similarly, it is important to wash the foam ear cushions in warm soapy water and drying them off completely before re-attaching them to the headset. We recommend that you replace the ear cushions and windshields with the new ones every 6 months.

You should never spray a disinfectant directly on your headset as it could result in permanent damage. Always use a cloth; there are safe disposable IPA cloths available in the market, which can be used for telephones and headsets.

Users must make it a habit to wipe down headsets with a disinfectant cloth after their shift has ended.
As a company, you should keep a note of the following points:

  1. Provide every user with a personal headset, which they should not share with others.
  2. If the sharing of the headsets is unavoidable, then each user must be given their own personal foam ear cushions.
  3. Windshields must be replaced every time a new person uses the headset.
  4. Leatherette, foam ear cushions, and windshields should be replaced every 6 months.
  5. Get consoles, headset plastics, and other equipment cleaned regularly with anti-bacterial wipes.

The above-given tips must be followed for safe and efficient long-term headset hygiene. They will help you in creating a safer environment for your employees, and also good for maintaining your headsets and equipment.