Silence Is Golden: 5 Things Call Center Managers Can Do To Minimize Noise

Silence Is Golden: 5 Things Call Center Managers Can Do To Minimize Noise

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Call Centers can be a noisy place. Most of us at one time or another have been on phone calls with Agents who were working in a Call Center. And if you give thought to that experience for a brief moment, you’ll probably remember hearing noise in the background. That’s a pretty common experience.

Image of Call Center Agents working

It’s hard to avoid that noise when you have so many people in a shared workspace, all talking, using their keyboards, using office machines, and doing other things that contribute to the noise levels. In this blog, I’ll share some ideas that Call Center Managers can consider to help reduce the amount of noise in the Call Center. Some of these suggestions may already be in place, but you might come away with one idea that can help you to make a dent in the sound that’s coming from your Contact Center.

To begin, why is it important to have control over the amount of noise in the Contact Center? There actually are several good reasons to take noise seriously.

  1. Health and well-being of your employees. Noise, especially when it becomes higher, has been shown to have a negative effect on people. Some people become frustrated when they’re distracted by noise, while others find that it can bring on anxiety, depression, migraine headaches and even elevate blood pressure. So if you, as the Manager of the Contact Center, care about your staff, then keeping an eye, or in this case, ear, on the noise levels in your Center, makes a lot of sense.
  2. Productivity. When Agents are distracted by the room noise, they’re not as productive as they should be. If they’re hearing conversations around them, they can lose concentration and when that happens efficiency and productivity declines.

So having happy, healthy and productive employees are the key reasons why being aware of your Call Center’s noise levels is important. Now let’s see what things you can do to help dampen those distractions.

I’ve broken my noise reduction suggestions down into these categories:

  • Configuration
  • Sound Absorption
  • Technology
  • Hardware
  • Internal Communications

Room Configuration / Layout

image of a small call center without any workers

As with any work or living space, there’s always the need to establish a layout. In this case it’s where you position your Agents so there’s a minimum impact on the noise levels, with the aim to keep noise levels to a minimum.

Something you might want to give some thought to is how each Agent is faced, and in what direction. Some configurations may have Agents voices being pointed in a common direction which may cause the sound  to be amplified. Think of a chorus facing one direction compared to a chorus facing in different directions. 

You might also consider commingling Agents that are on the phone a lot, with those that aren’t. Agents will sometimes spend a lot of time communicating via computer rather than on live calls. You could find that commingling Agents like this with those more phone heavy, will reduce the overall sound by spreading it out rather than concentrating it. 

Is everyone facing the same direction?  At each other? In opposite directions? Where Agents face collectively can impact sound.

If you think about noise in totality, it’s actually composed of many different sounds. One of the areas that helps to contribute to the overall sound is in office machinery such as copiers, office printers and yes, even the long in the tooth fax machine. Believe it or not, those are still in use today. 

If it’s possible to relocate those machines to a different room, or to a far corner of the workspace, that can help to lower the decibels where most people are concentrated, and help to be less distracting overall.

Sound Absorption

image of sound proof material adhered to a wall

This shouldn’t be new information or a revelation to anyone really, but it is worth reminding. Sound absorption materials can be incorporated into partitions, or onto the wall, or even the ceiling directly. But one surface area that can be overlooked is the floor.

Carpet absorbs sound, tile and other hard surfaces don’t. So when giving thought to sound absorbing materials, don’t overlook what you’re walking on. You probably have a lot of people in your Call Center, and when they’re walking around, especially on hard surfaces, that can really add to the noise levels in your workplace. And when you combine carpet, with sound absorbing partitions, or walls that feature materials that absorb sound, you’ll well on your way to giving your employees a quieter, more healthy and comfortable place to work.

Leverage Technology

Abstract colorful image that represents technology

You can also look to technology for some help. This can be in the form of adding noise to the workplace that’s designed to allow workers to concentrate better. I know, this sounds counter-intuitive, but when you enter white noise into the environment, it masks the sound of voices making it less audible to others. And when Agents don’t understand what’s being said by others, they can more easily stay focused on their tasks.

This is often referred to as “masking” and if this is a topic that you’d like to know more about, you can learn more by checking out this article by Biamp, titled “Sound Masking  101” If you’re not familiar with this technology, I think you’ll find it to be interesting.

Another technology that’s available is one that’s designed to help reduce the noise that your far end hears. It isn’t designed to remove noise, or make it more unnoticeable, it’s designed to filter it so your callers hear less of it. One example of this is through an application called Krisp which utilizes Ai to help reduce unwanted background noise. So if you’re using headsets, and you’d like to add another layer of noise reduction, Krisp might be a good app to consider.

Internal Communications

Animated image of two characters made from paper talking to each other

People who work together need to communicate with each other. The most common way this occurs is face to face, but when that happens, it adds more noise to the environment. As an alternative, you might encourage Agents to use messaging apps where possible in an effort to help reduce the noise levels.

Anything that can be done to help lower the total noise will help drive you towards establishing a quieter work environment.

Knowing that everyone reacts to sound differently, you should also keep an open line of communication and encourage Agents to provide their input on noise. If you do, you may discover new solutions, and in the process, you’ll foster a more open, inclusive atmosphere which employees like.


The most commonly used hardware in a Call Center generally includes:

  • Computers
  • Keyboards/mice
  • Headsets

Keys that go clackity clack

close up view of two hands typing on a computer keyboard

Keying in on keyboards, you can use traditional keyboards that project a click sound every time a key is hit, or you can consider using silent keyboards.  Imagine the collective sounds that come from a large team of people, all using keyboards at the same time. And, if those keyboards are clicking along in unison, that can be a big contributor to the collective noise in your Call Center.

So why not consider silent keyboards? You can find a list of the top 10 quiet keyboards in 2023 listed here by Gadget Review. Having quieter keyboards spread out across a large team of people will go a long way towards lowering the sound, and be one less thing that adds to it.

Headsets - To Remove Noise For Your Agents And Callers

two side by side images of a woman wearing a headset

When talking about noise reduction in a Call Center, you can’t leave the subject without mentioning headsets. After all, headsets play an important role in the daily life of a Call Center Agent. And when talking about headsets, you can’t ignore that they’re not all the same. 

  • Some sound loud, clear and professional, and some don’t
  • Some are comfortable, and some aren’t
  • Some do a great job at removing background noise, and some don’t
  • Some are expensive, and some are cheap
  • Some are reliable, and some are not
  • Some includes great service support, while others offer none

So when it comes to selecting a headset that sounds good, is comfortable, and can reduce background noise, you should try them out live in your exact working environment. If the headset sounds great, is comfortable and performs well at removing background noise, then it’s worth considering, especially if it’s priced within your budget. But don’t overlook the service element because if you can’t get any, you may find yourself with headset issues that you can’t get any help resolving.

Noise reduction and headsets really fall into a few categories;  noise canceling microphones, passive noise reduction through ear cushions and headset design, and active noise cancellation through electronic means (ANC).

Noise canceling microphones - they're not all the same


Image of the Discover D711U wired USB headset

In a Call Center you really need headsets that have noise canceling microphones because you don’t want your callers hearing the sounds coming from the Call Center. The best way to dampen that is through the use this kind of headset.

Clearly some do a better job at this than others, so the only real way to really know if a headset has a good quality microphone or not is to test it yourself, in your exact working conditions. And if the vendor will not provide you with a sample headset to test, my advice is to seek out a different vendor.

The other thing that can help reduce background noise is through ear cushions that fully circle the ear like the ones found on the Discover D722U which is designed to dampen room noise passively. In other words, this feature is intended to help filter sound before that sound enters the ear which serves as a barrier.

The alternative ear cushion designs are those that rest against the ear rather than around it, such as the cushions found on the Discover D712U. These ear cushions will remove more noise compared to a mono headset, which leaves one ear completely uncovered, but removes less ambient noise than the cushions that fully encircle the ear.

To give a higher level of noise reduction to your Agents, there are headsets available that have a feature called Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC for short. This is an electronic feature that can be activated, or deactivated, that counters incoming noise with anti-noise. ANC helps to cancel out incoming noise so that your Agents aren’t distracted by room noise. And when they’re not distracted, they’re more productive and happier. One example of a headset that has ANC is the Orosound Tilde Pro.


close up image of Orosound Tilde Pro that shows the buttons


No matter what you do, as long as you’re aware of noise, and taking steps to address it, you’ll find that your Call Center Agents will be happier, healthier and more productive. And at the end of  the day, isn’t that what you want, and need?

Noise monitor - you relax, it listens


Image of Jabra Noise Guide Monitor on a stand


It’s hard to know when noise reaches concerning levels. What does that sound like? How do you know when noise reaches a level that’s distractive? Fortunately there is one easy way to keep a watchful ear on that, and it’s a product offered by Jabra called the Jabra Noise Guide.This is a device that can be placed in the Call Center, and it monitors the noise level automatically. It displays a large ear that changes color from green, to amber to red, depending on the noise levels. When a Call Center Manager sees it go to amber, or red, he/she knows to take action to help get the noise under control. And the levels can be individually set, and noise data is stored for up to 3 months. Check it out if you’d like to know more about this unique product.

Have questions, or need some help?

Animated gray question marks in a pile, with one being in yellow

If you manage a Call Center, and would like some help finding the right headset solution, we’ve specialized in headsets for almost 30 years. We can help.

Just reach out to us here to see how we can be contacted. Our team is available to assist Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST

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