Psychoacoustics Laboratory



Research in the Psychoacoustics Laboratory is concerned with the relation between intensity resolution, masking and loudness. These topics can be loosely organized as a triangle. Until recently, our work focused on intensity resolution and masking, but we have now shifted to the loudness corner of the triangle. There is a remarkable lack of consensus in the loudness research community regarding some of the techniques for measurement of loudness in clinical research, while many of those in the masking research community who would reject all of the techniques because they are subjective. On the other hand, the obvious relevance of loudness in our everyday lives has led to the development of ANSI and ISO standards supported by computational models that make precise predictions. There is no comparable consensus regarding prediction of masked thresholds or intensity difference limens. We are currently focusing on issues directly related to the measurement of the loudness of broadband sounds in listeners with sensorineural hearing loss. These measurements are important for hearing aid research, but may be among the most difficult loudness measurements to make. We are attacking the problem using techniques borrowed from the masking literature.


The laboratory was one of the two initial laboratories established at BTNRH when the building opened in 1977. It beame a virtual laboratory in July 2015 when the space was given to Dr. Leibold. We currently use a single-walled sound room in Dr. Keefe's laboratory for data collection.  Our standard equipment configuration includes a PC equipped with a 24-bit Card Delux sound card, followed by a Sonus amplifier and Sennheiser 25 headphones.  Responses are obtained using a keyboard and mouse. 

Professional ​Resources

Copies of our waveform generation, data collection and data analysis software are available upon request.

Specific Areas of Research:

  • Loudness of broadband sounds
  • Multistage functional models of loudness, intensity resolution and masking
  • Relation between behavioral and OAE measures of response growth