Best Practices and Advice for Using Pupillometry to Measure Listening Effort: An Introduction for Those Who Want to Get Started

Matthew B. Winn, Dorothea Wendt, Thomas Koelewijn, Stefanie E. Kuchinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Within the field of hearing science, pupillometry is a widely used method for quantifying listening effort. Its use in research is growing exponentially, and many labs are (considering) applying pupillometry for the first time. Hence, there is a growing need for a methods paper on pupillometry covering topics spanning from experiment logistics and timing to data cleaning and what parameters to analyze. This article contains the basic information and considerations needed to plan, set up, and interpret a pupillometry experiment, as well as commentary about how to interpret the response. Included are practicalities like minimal system requirements for recording a pupil response and specifications for peripheral, equipment, experiment logistics and constraints, and different kinds of data processing. Additional details include participant inclusion and exclusion criteria and some methodological considerations that might not be necessary in other auditory experiments. We discuss what data should be recorded and how to monitor the data quality during recording in order to minimize artifacts. Data processing and analysis are considered as well. Finally, we share insights from the collective experience of the authors and discuss some of the challenges that still lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Hearing
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was originally planned during the “Pupillometry in Hearing Science” workshop in Amsterdam, 2017. We would like to thank our many colleagues who have contributed advice, ideas, and opinions to the authors as this manuscript was planned and prepared. In particular, the ideas in this article were improved by discussions with Adriana Zekveld, Sophia Kramer, Graham Naylor, Matthew McGinley, Daniel McCloy, Giulia Borghini, Ashley Moore, Mark Eckert, Yang Wang, Nicole Ayasse, and Ronan McGarrigle.

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by NIH-NIDCD NIH-NIDCD R03DC014309 (M. B. W.), Oticon Fonden (Foundation) Grant 16-0463 (T. K.), and NIH-NIDCD R03 DC015059 (S. E. K.).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • listening effort
  • methods
  • pupillometry


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