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New EEG research proves Oticon Opn S helps the brain organise sound.

oticon opn s EEG study results

A study conducted by Oticon using a new research method, EEG, has produced conclusive results that Opticon Opn S hearing technology makes speech stand out and improves selective attention.

What is selective attention?

Selective attention is the brains natural ability to organize and prioritise different sounds. This ability is essential for social interactions. Selective attention enables us to switch and focus our attention with relative ease during conversation so even if we focus on the person we are speaking with; it allows us to monitor other sounds in our environment and instantly switch our attention to another sound source or speaker when needed.

The results of this study have shown that the Oticon Opn S is able to support the brain’s natural way of organising sounds and significantly improves the cognitive domain of selective attention.

What is an EEG research method?

EEG, or an electroencephalogram, is a test method that objectively measures brain activity using small sensors that are attached to the persons scalp. These sensors pick up electrical signals produced by brain cells, and measure the brain’s activity in response to different speech and environmental noises.

However, the use of the EEG in this study did not simply measure brain activity. It went beyond that and created an image of how the sounds were organised, represented and processed by the individuals brain and under different conditions, with different functionalities of the hearing aid active or inactive, such as with the Oticon Opn S OpenSound Navigator function switched on and off. It showed exactly how the brain was performing selective attention.

The tests that were developed and conducted for the research really challenged the brain with demanding conversational situations where two people would be talking at the same time for example. Environmental conditions presented to participants mimicked real-life scenarios, with one primary speaker to focus on, a secondary speaker to ignore and background noise to suppress.

The Results – Oticon Opn S significantly
enhances selective attention

The results were conclusive and confirmed that the Oticon Opn S is the first hearing aid proven to enhance selective attention and improve the brains ability to organize sounds. This makes it easier to follow conversations. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Sounds are better organized in the brain
  • Speaker in focus: strength of EEG signal increased by 10%
  • Secondary speaker: strength of EEG signal increased by 95%
  • Background babble reduced by 50%: speech signals stand out and listening is easier

You can download the full research paper with the results and key findings here.

Why is this research so important for treating hearing loss?

We know that when we have a hearing condition or hearing loss, the brain receives incomplete information from the ears. This leaves us with pieces of missing information that the brain must work hard to make sense of and fill in the gaps. If this is left untreated, the brain is always having to work harder than necessary just to make sense of sound. This increases the cognitive load on our brain and can lead to us feeling fatigued and stressed and a variety of key cognitive functions are also compromised, this includes selective attention, working memory and executive functions in general.

For individuals with hearing loss, communication and social interaction can be a stressful and effortful experience. Whilst it may seem that this communication problem comes from the loss of hearing sensitivity alone, this isn’t the whole picture. The challenges experienced also relate to the brains ability to process sound, concentrate, filter out environmental noise, focus attention, our working memory and more. Effortless hearing and communication is dependent on these key cognitive functions, and even more so for someone with a hearing loss. In addition, no two people will ever have the same cognitive profile and this is why hearing is such an individual experience.

For some time now, we at Cubex have coupled hearing technology with evidence based cognitive assessments and training programmes as part of our treatment plans. In addition to utilising hearing technology, it is essential to support these key cognitive domains that are vital for engaging successfully and effortlessly in the auditory world. This latest research by Oticon represents another positive step in the hearing technology industry. Investing in research that explores cognition in hearing loss takes us closer to understanding how the brain works achieving the experience of normal hearing for people with hearing loss and reducing the impact of hearing loss on our brains. We appreciate how important cognitive function is to our hearing health and over-all wellbeing and we are excited to be working with technology that has proven to reduce the cognitive burden of hearing loss and improve the brains natural ability to process sound.

Upgrade to Oticon Opn S Hearing Tech

If you are interested in learning more about the Oticon Opn S hearing technology, get in touch with the Cubex team. You can learn more about the Oticon Opn S here, or arrange an initial consultation to discuss with an audiologist.

 

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