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Learning never ends: Updates to some of our past articles

Edge Studio

The voice-over world is ever-changing. So is the world at large, and it’s time we updated some of the things we’ve written. Some of the news is fun, some of it is just “different.” And some might even be a bit disturbing. For example, your receptivity level might vary depending on whether you’re retrieving voice mail or getting paid to voice it.

Who voices illegal robocalls? Should you remove certain telemarketers from your list? (3 parts beginning April 17, 2015)

Illegal automated “robocalls” continue to be a “scourge” (the word used by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai), with 2.4 BILLION robocalls to Americans every MONTH. We still have not found anyone who knows who voices recorded calls that are placed illegally, nor determined whether those voice artists are aware at the time that their performance will be used in violation of FTC rules. But we have found that some of the measures we mentioned do a passable job of minimizing junk calls and annoying rings for consumers. One of our staffers uses, which – when it detects a known robocall — rings your phone only once. Some slip through, but most are caught. There are also other services and apps of that sort for call block and/or reporting.

In addition, since our original series on this, the FCC has given permission to telephone service providers to integrate such filters into their services if their customer requests. For details, check with your friendly phone company.

But there has also been a more recent development in the other direction. As we mentioned originally, calls to mobile numbers are restricted more than calls to landlines. Some parties have petitioned the FCC to declare that a message left on a mobile customer’s voice mail does not violate that FTC restriction if the call does not first ring the recipient’s phone. (Presumably, no-ring messaging technology exists, or could be implemented.) The supposed argument on behalf of this proposal is that it’s “free speech” and since the device does not ring, the recipient is not inconvenienced. This might be good news for voice artists, in that it might (or might not) greatly expand telephony messaging opportunities. We’ll let you decide whether or not it is inconvenient to get voice-mail alerts and have to check your messages to find that they’re just advertising for politicians, causes and whatever. Perhaps the issue comes down to the speech being “free” for whom?

Earbuds and earplugs — A heads-up on hearing health (2 parts beginning Sept 29, 2015)

This two-part series talked about the fragility of human hearing, how it can be damaged and how to protect and preserve it. Since then, we’ve learned of an interesting way Mercedes-Benz (and perhaps other manufacturers by now?) help protect vehicle occupants hearing in case of a crash: “Pink” noise.

According to news sources, when the car’s sensors detect an imminent crash, the car emits a short, 85-decibel burst of pink noise (similar to the sound of a waterfall) milliseconds beforehand. This stimulates the stapedius reflex, causing the middle ear to contract, helping to protect the vehicle occupants’ hearing. From an article in Wired, we learned that the issue isn’t the noise of the crash itself, but the noise of the airbags deploying, which (at 178) decibels is just 2 dB “quieter” than a rocket launch.

Also hearing related …

NPR reports that 35 million Americans “have some degree of hearing loss,” and that “four out of five older Americans with hearing loss just ignore it.” One reason, they say, is that it is a sign of aging. A hearing aid requires a prescription and can be seen as a stigma. But what if hearing aids were available over-the-counter, and looked just like a streaming-media device or telephone earpiece? There are arguments for and against, and they go beyond merely the issue of hearing. At the at the end of this article, you’ll find a link to theirs.

Financial planning for the voice-over professional (June 3, 2016)

We wrote that the Department of Labor was going to require retirement investment advisers to hold to a “fiduciary” rule, legally assuring they put the client’s best interest ahead of their own.

But before the rule was due to become effective this spring, the new Presidential administration announced plans to reverse it. Apparently, public comment caused those plans to be put on hold, so the rule took effect, after all, on June 9, 2017. Will it stay in effect? We can’t say. But we can remind our readers that responsible investment advisors already hold to this standard, and, to be sure that they do, any investor should review all advice and charges very carefully.

VO freelancer, do you know about Freelancers Union? (October 12, 2016)

At the time, we mentioned a bill in the New York City Council, backed by Freelancers Union and others, to help independent contractors collect from non-paying clients. Since then, the bill passed unanimously and became effective on May 17, 2017. Freelancers Union has a number of tools to help freelancers take advantage of this protection, including an app that leads to a curated selection of lawyers. It also offers guidance to employers. To access their resources, click “Resources” at their website. You might be asked to join or log in, but membership is free.

There are many aspects to the legislation, including that the city can also bring suit and impose a civil penalty against employers who engaged in a pattern or practice of violations. Important to note: This is a New York City law. Application outside New York City borders is a matter of judicial discretion, so Freelancers Union advises that independent contractors include a jurisdiction clause in their contract. For full details, see the link below.

Have you spotted something we should update? Let us know. Leave a comment or write [email protected].


Consumer And Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on All About The Message, LLC, Petition for Declaratory Ruling Under the Telephone Consumer Act of 1991. United States Federal Communications Commission; April 18, 2017.…

Is It Time For Hearing Aids To Be Sold Over The Counter? April 24, 2017.…

Stories about Hearing Loss. (A collection)

2016 Mercedes E-Class Prepares Your Ears For A Crash. By Kristen Hall-Geisler; Jan 14, 2016.

Mercedes Is Using Loud Static To Protect Fancy Ears in Crashes. By Jordan Golson; July 13, 2015.…

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wows With Ear Protection, Active Seat Safety Features. By Kelsey Mays; July 16, 2015.…

Stories about Hearing Loss. (A collection)

Long-awaited retirement savings rule takes effect – for now. By Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post.…

Freelancers Union – Non-payment resources and information.