The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

There are basic standards and regulations set out in the US to mitigate these scenarios. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration limits noise exposure for employees to 90 decibels over an eight-hour working day. In an increasingly demanding world where individuals are constantly on the move and multi-tasking, people should only be exposed to the sounds that they intend to hear. However, as we get busier, filtering out what we do and do not need to hear becomes more complex. As technology has proliferated and working habits have evolved, the volume of telephone and conference calls have increased. We are now working from different locations and facing new challenges; your device needs to meet these new needs. Audio is now merging with technology in new ways that harness adap- tive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. We are reaching a place where audio devices can learn about the sounds that a user wants to hear and filter out the rest. Remote communication encourages flexible working, but also has its downsides. According to a recent EPOS study titled Understanding sound experience , 44 per cent of end users report poor sound quality while making phone calls and 39 per cent the same with internet calls. Conversely, good audio enables an individual to collaborate and communicate clearly and efficiently. For users in a noisy environment, devices with active noise cancellation offer an effective solution to reducing background and unwanted noise to boost productivity and performance. These solutions are specifically designed to adjust to the noise challenges of open office environments and beyond. Hybrid active noise cancellation uses a four-microphone active noise control system, detecting ambient noise and generating anti-noise to cancel it out before it reaches the user’s ears. The result is a dra- matic increase in a worker’s ability to concen- trate in noisy environments and boosts general well-being throughout the working day. Advancements in technology can also now remove all unwanted noises and enhance the users’ voice, for example with headsets that can isolate and pick up only the sound of the person who is speaking. Looking ahead, there are excit- ing concepts and developments on the horizon. We can look forward to AI becoming increasingly embedded in audio solutions, as well as offerings that provide augmented hearing and an increase in demand for voice-controlled devices. Jesper Kock is vice president of research and development at EPOS  COMMUN I CAT I ONS & MED I A 121