(Re)building a Psychoacoustics Laboratory We recently completely replaced both hardware and software for the Psychoacoustics Laboratory at the Boys Town National Research Hospital, which is capable of testing multiple subjects in a wide range of hearing experiments. We offer here a summary of the decisions we made and why, which may prove useful ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2000
(Re)building a Psychoacoustics Laboratory
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Walt Jesteadt
    Psychoacoustics Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Donna Neff
    Psychoacoustics Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2000
(Re)building a Psychoacoustics Laboratory
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, October 2000, Vol. 4, 5-7. doi:10.1044/hhd4.1.5
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, October 2000, Vol. 4, 5-7. doi:10.1044/hhd4.1.5
We recently completely replaced both hardware and software for the Psychoacoustics Laboratory at the Boys Town National Research Hospital, which is capable of testing multiple subjects in a wide range of hearing experiments. We offer here a summary of the decisions we made and why, which may prove useful to others faced with building or upgrading a laboratory.
The existing psychoacoustics laboratory, developed in the late 1970s, was capable of testing up to four subjects in parallel, using a multi-purpose data collection program. The strengths of this system were that data collection was highly automated and relatively idiot-proof, the software made it possible to do a wide range of masking experiments without any new programming, and testing four subjects at once was very efficient. The weaknesses were that the data collection program was difficult to modify and maintain, data collection required running under DOS with the PC disconnected from the network, the audio system had a higher noise floor than desired (and therefore a small dynamic range), the TDH-39 phones had a limited frequency range, the simple push-button response boxes did not allow us to obtain much information from subjects or provide much information to them, and data analysis was cumbersome. We wanted to develop a new system to correct the weaknesses while preserving the strengths. Specifically, we wanted more modular data collection software that would run under Windows, a quieter audio system, phones with a wider dynamic range, a response box system with a wider bandwidth, and a better approach to handling the data.
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