About Sound Storm

General Information

How do I access Sound Storm?

On your iPad, access the app store and search for Sound Storm. The following link should take you there: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/sound-storm/id1062466584?ls=1&mt=8

The price will vary between countries due to differences in currencies.

Sound Storm Splash Screen

What devices is Sound Storm compatible with?

Sound Storm is compatible with iPad3 and onwards. It requires iOS 8.1 or later. It won’t work on a Mac computer because it requires a touch screen.

What age group is Sound Storm suitable for?

Sound storm was developed for children aged 6 to 12 years. Whereas our research was conducted with children of this age range, older users may potentially benefit. We recommend discussing potential benefits for older users with your health professional.

What does the Sound Storm iOS App Do?

The Sound Storm iOS application provides auditory training to children over a period of approximately three months. It was designed for children who have previously been assessed by clinicians as having a specific disorder (spatial processing disorder).

The software contains specially-produced auditory stimuli that have been proven in extensive peer-reviewed research to be effective in helping these children improve their auditory processing abilities.

These stimuli are set in a highly engaging game, designed to motivate the children to complete the training program.

Sound Storm Splash Screen

What is the research behind Sound Storm?

Sound Storm is based on the Windows program LiSN & Learn (Cameron & Dillon, 2012), which was developed by the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL). Sound Storm uses the same specially-designed auditory stimuli and response protocols as LiSN & Learn. Research documenting the development and evaluation of the LiSN & Learn software, including a randomized blinded controlled study, has been published in peer-reviewed journals and text books. A list of these publications can be found in the references section at the end of this document. Links to abstracts and full publications can be found at https://capd.nal.gov.au/publications.shtml. Training modules for clinicians can be found at the HEARnet Learning website at http://hearnetlearning.org.au/training-mods/specialist-skills/.

How is Sound Storm different to LiSN & Learn?

The Sound Storm software (Cameron & Dillon, 2016) was developed for the iOS platform. A rich and compelling space fantasy – filled with amazing characters and lush environments – was developed for the new version of the software to encourage play. The story element of the training is enhanced with a multi- layered reward system that acts to further encourage daily use of the software. The Sound Storm space fantasy narrative runs through 10 levels over 9 different galactic worlds.


What is Spatial Processing Disorder?

Spatial processing disorder (SPD) is a specific type of auditory processing disorder (APD) which results from an inability to utilize the directional cues embedded in sound in order to separate the speech we want to hear from background noise. As such, children with SPD have particular difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, such as the classroom.

Research has shown that SPD is particularly common in children who have a history of recurrent otitis media (glue ear) and can occur even though their hearing thresholds, as measured by routine audiological tests, are within the normal range. You can find out more about SPD here: https://capd.nal.gov.au/capd-spatial-processing-disorder.shtml.

How do you Diagnose SPD?

SPD is diagnosed by a qualified clinician using the Listening in Spatialize Noise – Sentences Test (LiSN-S). You can find out more about the LiSN-S here: https://capd.nal.gov.au/lisn-s-about.shtml.

LiSN-S testing

Why was Sound Storm developed for iPad?

Research shows that most households who have a tablet device have an iPad rather than an Android device. Also, there is a lot of variation in Android devices so controlling the output is more complicated.

Can the Sound Storm App be played on an iPhone?

It will work on iPhone 6 but the screen is very small so we don’t recommend this.

Does the Sound Storm App need special headphones?

Sound Storm can be used with any headphones that have a good high frequency response. Six different sets of headphones were trialled at NAL and there was only a couple of decibels (dB) difference between them (Lo et al, 2015). Our research studies on the LiSN & Learn were conducted using Sennheiser HD215 circumaural headphones (see http://en-au.sennheiser.com/audio-headphones-stereo-hifi-closed-hd-215).

Does the iPad need to be connected to the internet?

No, currently the results are stored in the iPad itself not in the cloud. Further, the user cannot back up their data to a computer as it sits within the app only. If the user loses or damages their device the risk is that they will lose progress.

Where should the user do the training?

Training should be done in a quiet environment, without distractions. Parents are advised to supervise children during training, especially younger children.

Information about Using Sound Storm

How many users can be registered to play Sound Storm?

Each Sound Storm application purchased can be used with up to three players who are registered on the Player Setup Screen. For example, if two siblings require the training, both can use the software. A parent can also set themselves up as a player so that he or she can try the game without affecting their child’s performance.

A user must log in and do their training using their unique user name. It is very important that no unregistered users use the software or accesses a specific user’s account to play the games because their performance will impact on the registered user’s progress and reward system.

Sound Storm login screen

How many games should be played each day?

In general, we recommend that the user plays 2 games per day, five days per week, until he or she has completed 100 to 120 games.

What are the expected results?

The amount of improvement in noise-to-signal ratio (NSR) in decibels (dB) that you can expect to see on Sound Storm over time depends on a number of factors, but particularly on the severity of any diagnosed spatial processing disorder (SPD).

In general, our research with the LiSN & Learn software has found that children with SPD will improve by approximately 10 dB over the course of training (100-120 games). This means that compared to before your child started training, they will be able to process a target stimulus – like his or her teacher’s voice – when the background noise is a lot louder.

The professional who is monitoring your child’s progress will be able to provide feedback on how your child is progressing. Post-training re-assessment with the LiSN-S is recommended.

What is the Sound Check function?

Each game will commence with the user asked to set the volume to a comfortable level, a recording is playing in the background on the sound check page to help guide the user.

Sound Storm Sound Check

Disabling Push Notifications

It is important for the user not to be distracted by push notifications whilst on the device, please go the settings tab and turn off notifications from other games and social apps.

What is the noise-to-signal ratio?

The noise-to-signal ratio (NSR) represents how loud the target signal (the sentence) is compared to the noise. So if a user starts off with a NSR of 12, he or she can correctly identify the word in the target sentence – on average – when the target word is 12 decibels softer than the background noise.

How does the Question and Answer Game Play Screen work?

  1. The Question and Answer game play is the core game function in Sound Storm. Users are presented with 40 questions where they need to select the appropriate image in response to Nala’s spoken voice.

  2. Nala’s voice along with 2 distracter voices are routed through the device’s sound mixer at differing volume ratios, with the final volume normalised so that the loudest sound(s) are at full volume, and the softer sound(s) scaled in relation to it.

  3. The distracter voices are the same as Nala’s voice to ensure that the player only has access to spatial cues, not voice cues.

  4. The first 5 questions (minimum) are considered ‘practice’ questions that do not contribute to the player’s score when determining level progression. The practice questions will cease after the first incorrect response following a correct response on or after the 5th question.

  5. Note that practice questions will still contribute to non-progression rewards like ‘Sound Stones’.

  6. The maximum NSR is set at -7dB.

What happens when a user makes a correct answer?

  1. When the player scores correctly, Nala’s voice will become less prominent in comparison to the distracter voices. That is, the noise-to-signal ratio (NSR) will increase by 1.5dB on the next playback.

  2. A congratulatory message and sound will be presented.

What happens when a user makes an incorrect answer?

  1. When the player scores incorrectly, Nala’s voice will become more prominent in comparison to the distracter voices. That is, the NSR will decrease by 2.5dB on the next playback.

  2. There will be no congratulatory message or sound.

What happens if a user selects the question mark symbol (?)?

  1. If a user selects the question mark, the sentence will be repeated once, and Nala’s voice will be slightly more prominent. That is, the NSR will decrease by 1.5 dB for the repeated sentence.

  2. If the user selects the question mark symbol again the NSR will decrease by 2.5 dB and a new sentence will be presented.

Why is the training repetitive?

This repetition is necessary to enhance the neural pathways dedicated to spatial processing.

Why do the sentences get quieter?

As each game progresses the target sentences will get quieter and quieter whenever a correct response is made. This is done to ensure that the training takes place at a challenging level. When it gets to the point where the user can't hear the target sentence then he or she can either select the question mark or make a guess at the answer. The app will note an incorrect answer and make the target sentence slightly louder (easier). It is normal to get some of the answers wrong. It means that the user is pushing themselves to listening in more and more challenging listening environments. The important thing is for the user to just to keep trying their hardest. It might take a couple of incorrect answers in a row before he or she can hear the sentence again. Over time the level at which the user can no longer hear Nala will actually get softer and softer.

What are the Question and Answer Game Play Screen Instructions?

  1. Listen to Nala’s voice and she will guide you. She will sound like she’s standing in front of you.

  2. Before Nala says something you will hear a beep.

  3. After the beep, you will hear Nala say a sentence, like “The dog ate six red shoes”

  4. After Nala says the sentence five pictures will appear.

  5. Tap the picture that matches one of the words in the sentence Nala says.

  6. Tap on the ‘?’and the sentence will be repeated once. Tapping it again will skip the sentence.

  7. Sometimes Nala’s voice will get softer and sometimes it will get louder.

  8. You’ll also hear to the Sound Storm voices around you. It is very important to ignore the Sound Storm voices and just focus on what Nala is saying.

Sound Storm Correct Response Screen

What are the target words?

All the target words used the Sound Storm sentences were taken from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (Fenson et al, 1992) and are all acquired by children aged 30 months of age. To view a chart of the target words and their corresponding images, go to https://capd.nal.gov.au/sound-storm-additional-resources.shtml

What are the Progress Bars show on the Game Play Screen?

  1. The top (blue) bar logs progress over 10 sentences. Players receive a “Sound Stone” for every ten sentences completed.

  2. The lower progress bar shows progress over the entire game (40 sentences).

How are the Sound Storm story-related rewards calculated?

There are different types of rewards (story-related rewards and Sound Stones). The story- related rewards are calculated differently based on the level the user has advanced to in the game, as follows:

Game 1 to 10 (Glossia):

Rewards (golden feathers) are earned each time two games are completed.

Games 11 to 20 (First Outer World):

Rewards are awarded – each time two games are completed – if:

  • the average of the last 10 games is greater than the average of games 1 to 5.

  • four games have been played without a reward.

    Games 21 and above (Rest of the Worlds):

    Rewards are awarded – each time two games are completed – if:

  • the average of the last 10 games is greater than the average of the preceding 10 games.

  • the average of the last 10 games is greater than the average of games 1 to 5 plus 8 decibels (dB).

  • the average of the last 10 games is greater than 20 dB.

  • four games have been played without a reward.

In the galactic worlds, will the child still advance if their improvement is low?

Yes. When a child has collected five rewards in any galactic world they can move on to the next galactic world. Rewards are calculated after each two-game sequence is completed, so a user has the opportunity to move to a new world after 10 games have been played. However, to maintain motivation, children will automatically advance to the next galactic world after they have completed 20 games.

Sound Storm Select World Sreen

What are Sound Stones?

Players receive sound stones for completing training games. Users receive one sound stone for every ten sentences completed. Once the top (blue) progress bar is complete, the player has finished 10 sentences and receives a sound stone. There are 40 sentences in each game, so every player can earn four sound stones per game.

What is the Child’s “Sound Storm Number”?

The Sound Storm number indicates improvement as play progresses. It is displayed on the screen after each game (40 sentences) have been completed. It is not displayed until the first 10 games are completed. The Sound Storm number is calculated as: 10 x (average NSR of the last two games minus the average NSR of the first five games).

What does the Progress Report show?

  1. The vertical axis shows the noise-to-signal ratio (NSR) in decibels (dB). This how loud the noise is compared to the signal. So if a user starts off with a NSR of 12 he or she can correctly identify the word in the target sentence when – on average – the noise is 12 dB louder than the sentence. Or put another way, when the target sentence is 12 dB softer than the background noise.

  2. The default range of the vertical (NSR) axis is 0 dB to 20 dB NSR. This adjusts adaptively to a maximum (softest) NSR of -7 dB and an unlimited minimum (loudest) NSR..

  3. The horizontal axis shows the number of games that have been played since the registered user commenced Sound Storm.

  4. The horizontal (Games) axis is fixed at 100 games. If a user plays Sound Storm for more than 100 games, data points for the most recent 100 games will be displayed.

  5. The blue NSR plotting dots represent a game’s NSR average for each game played.

  6. The starting average line is a straight blue line drawn across the graph. It shows the average NSR calculated over the first five games.

  7. The running average line (RAL) is a red line drawn through the graph, plotted for every game since the start of play. It is calculated as the average of the last five games. The plot for the RAL is calculated from the available data only (eg. after game 3 the RAL is calculated from the average of games 1, 2 and 3).

  8. At the end of training it is expected that your NSR will have improved by approximately 10 dB, depending on the magnitude of the spatial processing disorder that has been diagnosed. So a user may improve from an NSR of 12 to 22.

  9. Incomplete games refer to any games that are exited before 40 sentences are completed. The NSR for incomplete games does not count towards progress or rewards.

  10. Improvement in decibels (dB) is the amount of improvement from initial average NSR from the start of Sound Storm. It is calculated as the difference between the running average (the red line) and the average of the first five games.

How do I email the Progress Report?

  1. Click on the report graph symbol (Progress) on the player setup page.

  2. Click the ‘Save’ buttons.

  3. Allow Sound Storm to access your photos. The report graph will save to the device’s camera roll.

  4. The report graph will appear in your camera roll for you to send through to your audiologist or specialist.

Progress report for Webpage

References for Software:

  1. Cameron, S., & Dillon, H. (2016). Sound Storm Auditory Training Software (Version 1.0.0) [Computer software]. Sydney, NSW: National Acoustic Laboratories.

  2. Cameron, S., & Dillon, H. (2012). LISN & Learn Auditory Training Software (Version 3.0.0) [Computer software]. Sydney, NSW: National Acoustic Laboratories.

References for Articles on the LiSN & Learn Auditory Training Software:

  1. Cameron, S., Glyde, H, Dillon, H., King, A., & Gillies, K. (2015). Results from a national central auditory processing disorder service: A "real world" assessment of diagnostic practices and remediation for CAPD. Seminars in Hearing, 36 (4), 216-236.

  2. Lo, C., Dillon, H., Cameron, S., & McMahon, C. (2015). Evaluation of headphone effects on performance in LiSN & Learn auditory training software. ANU undergraduate research journal, 6, 147-159.

  3. Cameron, S., Glyde, H., Dillon, H., Kanthan, S., & Kania, A. (2014). Prevalence and remediation of spatial processing disorder (SPD) in Indigenous children in regional Australia. International Journal of Audiology, 53, 326-335.

  4. Cameron, S., & Dillon, H. (2013). Remediation of spatial processing issues in central auditory processing disorder. In G. D. Chermak & Frank E. Musiek (Eds.) Handbook of Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Comprehensive Intervention (Vol. II, pp. 201-224). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

  5. Cameron, S., Glyde, H. & Dillon, H. (2012). Efficacy of the LiSN & Learn auditory training software: Randomized blinded controlled study. Audiology Research, 2:e15.

  6. Cameron, S., & Dillon, H. (2011). Development and Evaluation of the LiSN & Learn Auditory Training Software for Deficit-Specific Remediation of Binaural Processing Deficits in Children: Preliminary Findings. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 22(10), 678-696.