Training listening abilities – treasure hunter game

Training listening abilities – treasure hunter 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 treasure hunter computer game. We have used the treasure hunter game to assess the benefits of training for people with tinnitus.

It is a strategy game in which the goal is to dig for the gold nuggets as quickly as possible without forfeiting your score by digging up coal instead. This short video clip shows how the treasure hunter game looks.

The man in the cart travels across each zone of the screen and you listen for sound cues which can tell you whether there is gold or coal buried within each zone. Speed and accuracy are of the essence to get a high score and progress to the next level in the game.

Treasure hunter auditory training game