Noise Exposure and Hearing Problems Study



​​​We are seeking adults who have spent time in loud noise environments or have good hearing and ringing, buzzing or other noises in their ears to participate in a research study to help us develop tests to identify hearing loss caused by loud noise exposure. Research has shown that loud noise exposure can damage parts of the ear that respond to moderate and loud level sounds. This damage may cause problems with understanding speech in a background noise, such as in restaurants or at parties. The purpose of this research is to find ways to identify people who have hearing loss caused by loud noise exposure and eventually develop strategies for helping those people hear better in ​background noise.

Noise Exposure and Hearing Problems Quiz

Are you concerned about your hearing? Click the link below to take our Noise Exposure and Hearing Quiz.

Find Out If You're At Risk For Hearing Damage

Who Can P​articipate?

​You can participate in this study if you are an English-speaking adult who has normal hearing or ​​hearing loss and you:
  • have been exposed to gunfire, explosions or high impact noise.
  • have difficulty understanding speech when there is other noise present.
  • have good hearing and tinnitus (ringing, buzzing or other noises in your ears).

Sign Up to​ Participate

Call (531) 355-6373 or fill out the form​ below:​


Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you choose to participate in this study, you will be asked to come in for 2 visits, each ​lasting 2-3 hours. ​During those visits you ​will be asked ​to do some of the following tasks.

    Standard Hearing test 

    Standard Hearing Test:

    • This test measures how well you hear soft sounds.
    • You will hear sounds presented through earphones and push a button when you hear a sound.
    • This test takes 10-30 minutes.

    Listening task (Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions):

    • This test tells us how well certain cells in your inner ear (cochlea) work.
    • You will sit in a comfortable chair.
    • A small rubber or foam earphone will be placed in your ear canal and various levels of sounds will be played to your ear.
    • During the testing, you may sit quietly, sleep or watch a DVD with subtitles.
    • This task typically takes 15-20 minutes.
    • Listening Task 

    Behavioral Task (Psychoacoustics):

    • These tasks tell us about a range of listening skills.
    • You will listen to sounds presented through earphones.
    • You will tell us when you hear a particular sound by clicking a button.
    • You will be listening to sounds for up to an hour, with breaks every 20 minutes.
    • Psychoacoustics 

    Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Task:

    • This test tells us how well your hearing nerve and parts of your brain respond to sounds.
    • Two to four small surface sensors will be placed onto your head and held in place by tape or sensor paste.
    • A foam earphone covered in thin foil may be placed in your ear canal.
    • You will rest quietly (either sitting or reclining) in a dimly lit room.
    • This procedure has been used to test hearing in infants and young children in clinical settings for many years.
    • This test takes 15 - 40 minutes
    • ABR 

    The earphone produces sounds and t​he sensors pick up responses at different locations on the pathway from your ear to your brain. The responses are sent to a computer and result in a display that looks like it has peaks and valleys.

    Speech Understanding Task:

    • This task measures your ability to understand words in quiet and in background noise.
    • You will hear the words through headphones and repeat back what you hear.
    • This task takes about 20-60 minutes.
    • Speech Understanding 


    • You will be asked about your past and current exposure to loud sounds.
    • You will be asked about your experience hearing and listening in different situations.
    • You may be asked whether or not you speak multiple languages. If you do, you may be asked about your use of those languages.
    • You may be asked about tinnitus (ringing or buzzing noises in your ears).
    • You may be asked about your music experience.
    • These tasks take about 15-45 minutes.
    • Questionaire 

    Memory and Attention tasks:

    • These tasks measure your ability to pay attention and remember what you see and hear.
    • You may be asked to:
      • identify pictures or colors
      • remember patterns
      • repeat verbal information in the same or different order
      • answer questions

      Memory and Attention 

  • You will be compensated $15.00/hour in cash at the end of each session if you decide to participate.

  • If you choose to participate in this study, you will be asked to come in for 2 visits, each lasting 2-3 hours.

  • We are located at Boys Town National Research Hospital at 555 N. 30th St., Omaha, NE 68131.

  • We schedule most of our visits Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Alternate times may be arranged individually if necessary.

  • To learn more about this stud​y, please con​tact Sara or Judy at​​ or call (531) 355-6373​.​