• escape behavior;
  • establishing operations;
  • functional analysis;
  • noise

We conducted a four-part investigation to develop methods for assessing and treating problem behavior evoked by noise. In Phase 1, 7 participants with developmental disabilities who were described as being hypersensitive to specific noises were exposed to a series of noises under controlled conditions. Results for 2 of the participants verified that noise was apparently an aversive event. In Phase 2, results of functional analyses indicated that these 2 participants' problem behaviors were maintained by escape from noise. In Phase 3, preference assessments were conducted to identify reinforcers that might be used during treatment. Finally, in Phase 4, the 2 participants' problem behaviors were successfully treated with extinction, stimulus fading, and a differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) contingency (only 1 participant required DRO). Treatment effects for both participants generalized to their home environments and were maintained during a follow-up assessment. Procedures and results were discussed in terms of their relevance to the systematic assessment of noise as an establishing operation (EO) and, more generally, to the identification of idiosyncratic EO influences on behavior.