sound storm– research in action

Sound Storm character art of the wise old owl.

What does the Sound Storm app do?

The Sound Storm application provides auditory training to children over a period of 10 -12 weeks. It is designed for children who have been diagnosed by a clinician as having Spatial Processing Disorder.

Research has proven that the app can remediate Spatial Processing Disorder in primary school-aged children if used as instructed for the full 10 -12 weeks.

How does Sound Storm work?

Sound Storm is designed to train children with normal hearing who present with Spatial Processing Disorder. The game uses spatial and binaural cues – i.e. the inter-aural timing and intensity differences which cue where sounds are coming from – to attend to target speech while filtering out distracting background noise.

During the game, target sentences and simultaneous segments of two competing stories are presented using headphones. This is what is referred to as the Question and Answer Game Play Screen.

To the child, the targets sound as if they are coming from directly in front of them (0º azimuth). The competing stories are perceived as one coming directly from the left and one directly from the right (90º azimuth left and right).

The target is initially presented at 62 dB sound pressure level (SPL), with the competing sentences initially at 55 dBSPL. The initial 7 dB difference ensures that the target is easy for the child to hear.

The child must then identify a word that was in the target sentence from one of four images that appear on the iPad/tablet. If the child identifies the correct target word, the sound level of the next sentence is decreased by 1.5 dB, making the task harder. If the child responds incorrectly, the level of the next target sentence is increased by 2.5 dB (easier).

If a child is having trouble identifying the target sound, they may select the question mark icon to hear the sentence once again. Nala’s voice becomes 1.5 dB louder for this repeat. If the user selects the question mark symbol a second time, a new sentence will be presented with Nala’s voice increased by 2.5 dB.

The child’s speech reception threshold for a game is calculated over 40 sentences. The program adapts the sound level to ensure that the training stays challenging. Furthermore, the sentences are structured to minimise contextual cues. This prevents the child from being trained in another auditory processing strategy such as auditory closure.

Keeping the training at a challenging point is crucial to successful auditory training.

If a child with Spatial Processing Disorder completes the program as recommended (100-120 games in total), they should experience remediation of their condition.

Frequently asked questions

What is the research behind Sound Storm?
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Research documenting the development and evaluation of Sound Storm (previously known as the LiSN & Learn Auditory Training Software) has been published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. A list of these publications can be found in ‘The Evidence’ section on this website.

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Who is a good candidate for Sound Storm?
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Before using Sound Storm, it is essential to establish that a child has:

  • Hearing within normal limits.
  • A diagnosis of Spatial Processing Disorder. If they do not, you won’t know if you are targeting the right deficit with Sound Storm.

Sound Storm has been clinically proven to remediate Spatial Processing Disorder in children aged 6 - 12yrs. Children younger than 6 are too young to be diagnosed with Spatial Processing Disorder and are unlikely to maintain the attention needed to complete the training.

Children over 12 are less likely to find the app engaging, and would need to be highly motivated to complete the training. If they do complete the program however, it may still be effective.

While there have been no clinical trials carried out on ages above 12, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Sound Storm is likely to remediate Spatial Processing Disorder in adults as well as children over the age of 12.

Understand the game in detail