EPOS Headsets Improve
Performance, Study Finds

A recent scientific study has shown that EPOS ADAPT 660 headsets help to reduce listening effort by 35% and improve memory recall by 10%*.

Over the past few years, hybrid work has transformed the workplace and the ways in which we communicate and collaborate. In a typical hybrid workday people must adapt to constantly changing sound environments—from sitting in a noisy office to remotely dialing into a virtual meeting.

But our brains aren’t built to process artificial sound coming out of headsets and speakerphones. Based on more than a decade of psychoacoustic research dedicated to understanding how the brain perceives sound, we know that we hear with our ears but we listen with our brains. Sounds that cannot be recognized are perceived as noise and noise stresses your brain, causing it to become tired and unfocused.

While it’s your ears that hear sound, it’s your brain that listens. Three processes take place – orientation, where the brain works out what direction each sound is coming from, focus, where it filters unwanted noise from the signal, and recognition, the process of interpretation of the audio.

For today’s workforce, who spend hours in hybrid meetings where sound comes from both speakers and people, poor voice transmission increases listening effort and the mental load people experience during a workday. This means unnecessary fatigue as people need to use greater cognitive effort to try and recognize sounds, fill in gaps and guess what was said. At the end of a workday this additional effort adds up, impacting people’s ability to perform their best. That is why EPOS headsets, speakerphones, and video bars are built on EPOS BrainAdapt™ - a group of pioneering technologies that work together to improve cognitive performance.

Measuring Cognitive Effort in Challenging Sound Environments

In a three-part study, that took place in the Centre for Applied Audiology Research (CAAR) at Oticon quarters in Denmark, participants are asked to perform various listening and memorization tasks in a noisy environment with and without passive noise damping, in which their performance is measured both subjectively and objectively. Two tests consist of the subjects listening to sentences where they should correctly identify certain words, with and without passive noise damping. The third test is a listening and recall test, again with and without passive noise damping. When the tests are complete subjects are asked questions related to their experience of the test subjectively, as well as having their pupil dilation measured throughout (an objective indicator of how much they must concentrate).

We use a technique known as pupillometry to measure the size of a listener’s pupils – the larger the pupil, the more the brain activity, and in the right control conditions we know it’s because they are having to concentrate harder to process the audio they are hearing, which leads to fatigue, slower reaction times and poor in-game decision-making.

What We Found Out

Based on this study the researchers were able to conclude that passive noise damping in EPOS ADAPT 600 headsets improves cognitive performance – reducing listening effort by 35% and improving memory recall by 10%.

For today’s professionals working in noisy or unnatural sound environments this means that you can stay present and focus longer in hybrid meetings, reduce stress on your brain used while trying to understand what’s being said and better recall important information. At the end of a workday, professional audio tools that are designed for the hybrid worker are not only a necessity, but an advantage that helps you perform your best.

Learn more about the ADAPT 600 Series

Read the full Whitepaper “The effects of noise attenuation on listening effort and arousal”.

*The effects of noise attenuation on listening effort and arousal”
Sindri Jonsson1, Emil Bjergskov Larsen1, Torben Christiansen2, Elaine Hoi Ning Ng1, Andreea Micula1,
1Oticon A/S, Smørum, Denmark
2 EPOS, Ballerup, Denmark