The idea of the open workspace environment dates back to 1950’s Germany. Two brothers, Eberhard and Wolfang Schnelle, envisioned an open office space “without any partitions, furnished unobtrusively and decorated with green plants to foster communication within the company.” In 1968, designer Robert Propst invented the modern cubicle, and the open office phenomenon took off over the next several decades.

Today an increasing percentage of studies push back against the open office concept. A 2014 article in The New Yorker highlighted a litany of studies showing the psychological impact of open offices. Study participants showed decreased motivation, feelings of helplessness, a loss of privacy, and other issues in open work environments. Yet the biggest killer of productivity in open offices appears to be a physical rather than psychological factor. Unsurprisingly, noise is a major issue:

“In laboratory settings, noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance. The psychologist Nick Perham, who studies the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs workers’ ability to recall information, and even to do basic arithmetic.”

Furthermore, a surprising large percentage of office workers may already have some degree of hearing loss. Conditions such as mild-to-moderate high frequency hearing loss and hidden hearing loss can make conversations in open office extremely difficult. With open offices generating noise level of about 50 decibels, productivity becomes a concern. Studies have found that addressing the office noise issue for these employees with hearing loss makes them more productive and engaged.

Earbuds for Work that Augment and Enhance Hearing

earphones for work on keyboard
Many workers use noise-cancelling headphones to combat office noise. While effective for reducing noise, blocking all audio from the outside world can also be problematic. Headphones are a “do not disturb” cue for most co-workers, and an office space full of headphone-wearing employees stifles collaboration and many of the originally intended benefits for open floor plans.

IQbuds2 MAX and IQbuds BOOST superior alternative when it comes to earphones for work spaces. Nuheara’s Super Intelligent Noise Control (SINC™) technology empowers employees to actively control the audio of their office surroundings. While using either product, office workers enjoy all of the following benefits:

  • Turn up or down the volume of the “real world” audio in their office environment
  • Blend the audio from digital sources (podcasts, music, etc) with surrounding office noise
  • Selectively balance surrounding office noise frequencies between “world” (ambient noise) and speech
  • Balance the levels of bass and treble from the sounds coming from the office environment
  • Make and receive phone calls via a simple, customizable tap touch
  • Activate Siri or Google Now via the tap touch controls
  • Bluetooth connect the earbuds to a smartphone or laptop/desktop while working
  • Total audio isolation using best-in-class active noise cancellation+ technology (IQbuds2 MAX only)

As Unbox Therapy surmised in their highly entertaining YouTube review of the original IQbuds:

It’s isolation when you want it, socialization when you need it.

Affordable and Accessible Access to Better Office Hearing

For anyone already struggling with conversations in noisy workplaces, IQbuds BOOST and IQbuds2 MAX offer a novel solution. Through the use of the Ear ID hearing assessment and auto-calibration built-in with either of these products, you can create a custom hearing profile with the earbuds in just 10 minutes. Once completed, the earbuds then adjust to your personal profile, enhancing sounds in specific high or low frequencies as needed.

Additionally, the “Focus” feature enables you to isolate conversations and speech coming from directly in front of you, dramatically improving the ability to communicate in open office spaces and other work environments.

Hearing Better at Work: Direct From Nuheara Customers

Hear what you’ve been missing

Overwhelming. I have been dealing with significant hearing loss for over 20 years. I started looking into hearing aids, the cost was prohibitive… My first day wearing my buds was at the office. I work in a call center so always a lot of chatter. I was so overwhelmed by all the noise I almost gave up on them. I took advantage of periodically turning the world off so I could regroup. The second day was so much better. It was alarming to hear so much after living in near silence.

Will in Rockford, Illinois (USA)

Great to wear at work

I have used them 5 days a week for months at work. I work in an open plan office and the ability to be able to turn off all the voices and noises around me is wonderful. I can concentrate on my work and still be able to have conversations with colleagues and hear when they ask questions.

Matthew H. from Coffs Harbour, Australia

Audio game changer in all aspects

As an office worker who has nothing but love for music, I needed something to improve both experiences, this did exactly that… When it comes to office use, the touch controls make it seamless going from listening to music to hearing my coworkers, sometimes from way farther than I should be able to hear.

Zach B. from United States

IQbuds are what I have been waiting for!

What can I say, I never wear earbuds… until now. This is a life changer. I work in a fast paced office environment in which I need to be attentive to what is going on around me.

Erez Y. from Australia

Great for the office!

I use these buds everyday at work. It is great be able to clearly hear my coworkers/ work environment while listening to audio books and podcasts.

Jaxon F. from United States

A bit of a shock!

I didnt realise how many things make sounds! The IQbuds Boost have made a radical difference for me in the office.I can hear other people and I have radically lowered the volume of my own voice – I was shouting at everyone – they were right!

Michelle M. from Australia

*This post was originally published on October 11, 2017 and has been republished with updates.

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