Occupational diseases among call center operators needing vocal rehabilitation

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Elif Altundaş Hatman
Sebahat Dilek Torun https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9139-9325


Call Center Operators; Call Center Employees; Occupational Disease; Vocal cord nodules; Employment Status


Background: Work related diseases (WRDs) and occupational diseases (ODs) greatly affect call center operators (CCOs) who experience demanding work expectations and adverse working conditions in their workplace. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sociodemographic and job characteristics of CCOs diagnosed with OD, and to describe the changes in employment status after diagnosis. Methods: This descriptive study is based on the electronic data records of Istanbul Occupational Diseases Hospital available from February 2007 to March 2018. Results: According to the health board reports, 122 of the 173 (70.5%) CCOs had a confirmed OD diagnosis, 85.2% were females and the mean age was 27.5 years. Vocal cord disorders were the most frequent ODs (64.8%), followed by hearing loss (12.5%), dysphonia (10.2%) and temporomandibular disorders (4.7%). Vocal cord nodules (VCN) were found to be more frequent among females compared to males (92.9% vs 62.4%, p<0.001). Although not statistically significant, the frequency of VCN was also higher in subjects working overtime (14.6% vs 6.3%), having gastroesophageal reflux disease (82.3% vs 73.9%) or thyroid nodules (100% vs 73.7%) and being current smokers (41.7% vs 13.3%). Following the OD diagnosis, 43.8% of the cases were dismissed, 18.7% quit their job, and 9.4% still held the same job position. Only 28.1% changed unit within the workplace. Conclusion: Including the CCOs who were diagnosed with an OD at a very young age and at an early stage of their working life into vocational rehabilitation programs and employing them under appropriate conditions is essential to proper health and safety protocol.

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