This experiment investigates the possible effects of auditory distraction on accuracy of computer-based visual acuity testing. Applications lie in future use of VR technology as a way of obtaining visual acuity measures. The computer program used was the fifth iteration and incorporated a built-in algorithm to give visual acuity scores. A portable Bluetooth 2-channel speaker was used to deliver each audio trial of classical music, or indiscernible human-voice background noise (“audio 1” and “audio 2” respectively). I hypothesized that there would be a significant difference between the baseline trials and either the audio 1 or audio 2 trials. Subjects first took a baseline acuity test five times, and then each audio trial (order randomized). From the acuity data recorded by the computer, averages were calculated, and only subjects with a relatively low standard deviation in their baseline trials were used for data analysis. This allowed me to be more confident in the accuracy of the baseline trial score, and by extension, more confident in my comparisons between baseline and audio trials. After the results were analyzed, I found no significant difference (at any alpha value) between visual acuity scores obtained during baseline trials compared to audio 1 or audio 2 trials. Additional analysis was done between the audio trials themselves, and again, no significance at any alpha value was found. The power of this study is limited by an N value of just 8. The door is left open for many possible future investigations of cross-modal effects between audition and vision and its implication in the measurement of visual acuity.
Elsemore, Caleb G., "Effect of Asynchronous Auditory Distractors on Visual Acuity Outcomes" (2017). Honors College. 446.