Things I’ve learned, published for the public benefit
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Plasticity – train your ears


Plasticity is a pitch discrimination game — that is, a game which tests and improves your ability to distinguish between similar sounds based on their frequency (pitch). You hear two sounds, which may have the same or different frequency (with 50-50 probability) and your job is to say whether they have the same frequency or different frequencies. At first, the differences are fairly obvious, but as you level up, they become smaller and smaller, which makes your job harder.

Plasticity can be a fun game to play (at least, if you believe some of my friends). In addition, it might be helpful if you want to improve your pitch discrimination skills – for example, if you’re a musician.

Plasticity is based on the Firefox Audio API and, as such, requires Firefox 4 or higher. Plasticity uses the HTML5 Web Audio API. It has been tested to work (at least) in recent versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari – including mobile devices (in the latest release).

I wrote Plasticity to treat my tinnitus (a phantom sound in my head). The idea was to re-wire the auditory cortex in my brain through repeated training in order to change my perception of the tinnitus sound. The name “Plasticity” refers to cortical plasticity – the ability of the cortex to reorganize in response to stimuli. Did Plasticity help my tinnitus? Well, I no longer have a tinnitus problem, though I am not sure to what extent Plasticity contributed to the improvement. If you have tinnitus (especially pure-tone tinnitus), you might as well give it a try. Here are some tips on how to use Plasticity for tinnitus.

Feedback request

If you’re using Plasticity for your tinnitus, don’t forget to post a comment below. I want to know how it went!

174 Comments so far

  • Rod Niall Cantlay

    Is it possible that the 2nd tone,when the pitches are the same,seems a little louder,therefore giving the impression that this is a change in pitch or is my brain “filling in” the information?
    I’m very interested in finding out because I very often get this wrong and mistake the same (S) pitches for different (D) ones.
    Thank you,

  • Cornelius Weiß

    Hey Tomasz,

    many thanks for your effort here!

    I have a pure tone tinnitus (left side only at about 11khz). My second attempt already lead me to level 13… let’s see where this brings me.

  • Leo Lip

    Great website, thanks for keeping it up without ads!

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