Design of acoustic chambers for animal auditory tests

P. Cobo

Previous work on the acoustic design of small reverberant chambers for studies on laboratory animals has paid, in general, more attention to the frequency response at certain points in their interior. These designs aimed to provide a frequency response as flat as possible at the receivers, thus avoiding unpleasant spectral coloration effects. However, an equally important, and frequently neglected, aspect is to set an acoustic field as spatially uniform as possible inside the zone where the animals are to be placed during the exposure to noise. An optimization procedure has been developed to calculate the proportions of the chamber dimensions that confers the highest sound level with the minimum mean squared deviation averaged in a given area inside the chamber. In addition, new stimuli have been designed with a high-pass filtering and linear with frequency gain. These stimuli are intended to adapt the characteristics of the exposing noise to the rodent hearing spectrum, displaced toward higher frequencies than the hearing frequency band of humans.

Lateral, frontal and rear views of the acoustic chamber