Training listening abilities – submarine game

Training listening abilities – submarine game

A number of our studies involving people with hearing loss or tinnitus examine the benefits of sound-based training tasks. Our training tasks involve doing multiple trials of a simple test (such as deciding which of three sounds has a higher pitch than the other two).  The difficulty of the training task then adjusts to find a level where it is difficult but not impossible; this is defined as your  'threshold' for the task. Training starts at a level that is relatively easy. With every correct answer the task gets a bit more difficult until an incorrect answer is selected. The task is then made easier again until correct answers are selected.  This is called an ‘adaptive’ task: difficulty goes up and down according to how well the task is performed and your ability to perform the task should improve over time.

Our collaborator, Professor Mike Sharples and his colleagues, developed an adaptive task within a submarine computer game. We have used the submarine game to assess the benefits of training for people with tinnitus.

The goal of the submarine game is to guide the vessel across the screen and through a hidden gap in the wall. This short video clip shows how the submarine game looks. 

The submarine is steered using active sonar whereby it emits a pulse of sounds and you listen for the echo. The closer in pitch the two sounds are, then the closer submarine is to being level with the gap in the wall. Getting the submarine through the gap earns points and you then progress to the next level of difficulty! Get it wrong and you lose a life by blowing up your submarine!

Submarine auditory training game