Auditory Processing Testing: In the Booth versus Outside the Booth

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Many audiologists believe that auditory processing testing must be carried out in a soundproof booth. This expectation is especially a problem in places such as elementary schools. Research comparing pure-tone thresholds obtained in sound booths compared to quiet test environments outside of these booths does not support that belief. Auditory processing testing is generally carried out at above threshold levels, and therefore may be even less likely to require a soundproof booth. The present study was carried out to compare test results in soundproof booths versus quiet rooms.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether auditory processing tests can be administered in a quiet test room rather than in the soundproof test suite. The outcomes would identify that audiologists can provide auditory processing testing for children under various test conditions including quiet rooms at their school.

Research Design:

A battery of auditory processing tests was administered at a test level equivalent to 50 dB HL through headphones. The same equipment was used for testing in both locations.

Study Sample:

Twenty participants identified with normal hearing were included in this study, ten having no auditory processing concerns and ten exhibiting auditory processing problems. All participants underwent a battery of tests, both inside the test booth and outside the booth in a quiet room. Order of testing (inside versus outside) was counterbalanced.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Participants were first determined to have normal hearing thresholds for tones and speech. Auditory processing tests were recorded and presented from an HP EliteBook laptop computer with noise-canceling headphones attached to a y-cord that not only presented the test stimuli to the participants but also allowed monitor headphones to be worn by the evaluator. The same equipment was used inside as well as outside the booth.


No differences were found for each auditory processing measure as a function of the test setting or the order in which testing was done, that is, in the booth or in the room.


Results from the present study indicate that one can obtain the same results on auditory processing tests, regardless of whether testing is completed in a soundproof booth or in a quiet test environment. Therefore, audiologists should not be required to test for auditory processing in a soundproof booth. This study shows that audiologists can conduct testing in a quiet room so long as the background noise is sufficiently controlled.

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