Outside the laboratory

Petteri Hyvärinen

Scientific experiments are often conducted in a laboratory environment in order to have optimal control over the experimental variables. In psychoacoustics, this translates to requirements about the acoustical environment and the equipment used for presenting the sounds. While this approach ensures that there are no confounding technical factors biasing the results, it is possible that there are still other non-technical mechanisms affecting our studies that we are not able to pick up. For example, when participants repeat auditory experiments many times, their performance improves; they learn to do the task better. For practical reasons, it is not always possible to repeat the same experimental conditions multiple times during a laboratory visit, or to organize multiple visits over several days to investigate the effect of learning. Therefore, in some situations it may be relevant to consider whether the experiment or parts of it could be completed outside the laboratory – for example at home or in the workplace. These kind of studies that are not done in a laboratory are often called field studies. Advances in mobile computing and web technologies have recently opened up completely new possibilities for running experiments practically anywhere. My work focuses on developing new methods for auditory field studies. The application areas range from mobile diagnostic tools for estimating cochlear compression with a mobile phone (ECHO project), to long-term effects of daily hearing aid usage on tinnitus (TIN-ACT).

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Petteri Hyvärinen
Postdoc
DTU Health Tech