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24 Feb 2021 at 01:40
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Bibliography on: Formants: Modulators of Communication


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 24 Feb 2021 at 01:40 Created: 

Formants: Modulators of Communication

Wikipedia: A formant, as defined by James Jeans, is a harmonic of a note that is augmented by a resonance. In speech science and phonetics, however, a formant is also sometimes used to mean acoustic resonance of the human vocal tract. Thus, in phonetics, formant can mean either a resonance or the spectral maximum that the resonance produces. Formants are often measured as amplitude peaks in the frequency spectrum of the sound, using a spectrogram (in the figure) or a spectrum analyzer and, in the case of the voice, this gives an estimate of the vocal tract resonances. In vowels spoken with a high fundamental frequency, as in a female or child voice, however, the frequency of the resonance may lie between the widely spaced harmonics and hence no corresponding peak is visible. Because formants are a product of resonance and resonance is affected by the shape and material of the resonating structure, and because all animals (humans included) have unqiue morphologies, formants can add additional generic (sounds big) and specific (that's Towser barking) information to animal vocalizations.

Created with PubMed® Query: formant NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-02-22

Ng ML, HK Woo (2021)

Effect of total laryngectomy on vowel production: An acoustic study of vowels produced by alaryngeal speakers of Cantonese.

International journal of speech-language pathology [Epub ahead of print].

Purpose: To investigate the effect of total laryngectomy on vowel production, the present study examined the change in vowel articulation associated with different types of alaryngeal speech in comparison with laryngeal speech using novel derived formant metrics. Method: Six metrics derived from the first two formants (F1 and F2) including the First and Second Formant Range Ratios (F1RR and F2RR), triangular and pentagonal Vowel Space Area (tVSA and pVSA), Formant Centralisation Ratio (FCR) and Average Vowel Spacing (AVS) were measured from vowels (/i, y, ɛ, a, ɔ, œ, u/) produced by oesophageal (ES), tracheoesophageal (TE), electrolaryngeal (EL), pneumatic artificial laryngeal (PA) speakers, as well as laryngeal speakers. Result: Data revealed a general reduction in articulatory range and a tendency of vowel centralisation in Cantonese alaryngeal speakers. Significant articulatory difference was found for PA and EL compared with ES, TE, and laryngeal speakers. Conclusion: The discrepant results among alaryngeal speakers may be related to the difference in new sound source (external vs internal). Sensitivity and correlation analyses confirmed the use of the matrix of derived formant metrics provided a more comprehensive profile of the articulatory pattern in the alaryngeal population.

RevDate: 2021-02-20

Maryn Y, Wuyts FL, A Zarowski (2021)

Are Acoustic Markers of Voice and Speech Signals Affected by Nose-and-Mouth-Covering Respiratory Protective Masks?.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(21)00037-0 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Worldwide use of nose-and-mouth-covering respiratory protective mask (RPM) has become ubiquitous during COVID19 pandemic. Consequences of wearing RPMs, especially regarding perception and production of spoken communication, are gradually emerging. The present study explored how three prevalent RPMs affect various speech and voice sound properties.

METHODS: Pre-recorded sustained [a] vowels and read sentences from 47 subjects were played by a speech production model ('Voice Emitted by Spare Parts', or 'VESPA') in four conditions: without RPM (C1), with disposable surgical mask (C2), with FFP2 mask (C3), and with transparent plastic mask (C4). Differences between C1 and masked conditions were assessed with Dunnett's t test in 26 speech sound properties related to voice production (fundamental frequency, sound intensity level), voice quality (jitter percent, shimmer percent, harmonics-to-noise ratio, smoothed cepstral peak prominence, Acoustic Voice Quality Index), articulation and resonance (first and second formant frequencies, first and second formant bandwidths, spectral center of gravity, spectral standard deviation, spectral skewness, spectral kurtosis, spectral slope, and spectral energy in ten 1-kHz bands from 0 to 10 kHz).

RESULTS: C2, C3, and C4 significantly affected 10, 15, and 19 of the acoustic speech markers, respectively. Furthermore, absolute differences between unmasked and masked conditions were largest for C4 and smallest for C2.

CONCLUSIONS: All RPMs influenced more or less speech sound properties. However, this influence was least for surgical RPMs and most for plastic RPMs. Surgical RPMs are therefore preferred when spoken communication is priority next to respiratory protection.

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Cavalcanti JC, Eriksson A, PA Barbosa (2021)

Acoustic analysis of vowel formant frequencies in genetically-related and non-genetically related speakers with implications for forensic speaker comparison.

PloS one, 16(2):e0246645 pii:PONE-D-20-17627.

The purpose of this study was to explore the speaker-discriminatory potential of vowel formant mean frequencies in comparisons of identical twin pairs and non-genetically related speakers. The influences of lexical stress and the vowels' acoustic distances on the discriminatory patterns of formant frequencies were also assessed. Acoustic extraction and analysis of the first four speech formants F1-F4 were carried out using spontaneous speech materials. The recordings comprise telephone conversations between identical twin pairs while being directly recorded through high-quality microphones. The subjects were 20 male adult speakers of Brazilian Portuguese (BP), aged between 19 and 35. As for comparisons, stressed and unstressed oral vowels of BP were segmented and transcribed manually in the Praat software. F1-F4 formant estimates were automatically extracted from the middle points of each labeled vowel. Formant values were represented in both Hertz and Bark. Comparisons within identical twin pairs using the Bark scale were performed to verify whether the measured differences would be potentially significant when following a psychoacoustic criterion. The results revealed consistent patterns regarding the comparison of low-frequency and high-frequency formants in twin pairs and non-genetically related speakers, with high-frequency formants displaying a greater speaker-discriminatory power compared to low-frequency formants. Among all formants, F4 seemed to display the highest discriminatory potential within identical twin pairs, followed by F3. As for non-genetically related speakers, both F3 and F4 displayed a similar high discriminatory potential. Regarding vowel quality, the central vowel /a/ was found to be the most speaker-discriminatory segment, followed by front vowels. Moreover, stressed vowels displayed a higher inter-speaker discrimination than unstressed vowels in both groups; however, the combination of stressed and unstressed vowels was found even more explanatory in terms of the observed differences. Although identical twins displayed a higher phonetic similarity, they were not found phonetically identical.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

Lau HYC, RC Scherer (2021)

Objective Measures of Two Musical Interpretations of an Excerpt From Berlioz's "La mort d'Ophélie".

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(21)00011-4 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: This study aimed to determine objective production differences relative to two emotional interpretations in performing an excerpt from a classical art song. The null hypothesis was proposed.

METHODS: The first author recorded an excerpt from an art song. The excerpt was sung with two contrasting musical interpretations: an "empathetic legato" approach, and a "sarcastic" approach characterized by emphatic attacks. Microphone, airflow, and electroglottography signals were digitized. The vowels were analyzed in terms of intensity, long term average spectra, fundamental frequency (fo), airflow vibrato rate and extent, vowel onset slope, intensity comparison of harmonic frequencies, and glottal measures based on electroglottograph waveforms. Four consonant tokens were analyzed relative to airflow, voice onset time, and production duration.

RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS: The emphatic performance had faster vowel onset, increased glottal adduction, increased intensity of harmonics in 2-3 kHz, increased intensity in the fourth and fifth formants, inferred subglottal pressure increase, increased airflow for /f/, and greater aspiration airflow for /p, t/. Vibrato extents for intensity, fo, and airflow were wider in the emphatic approach. Findings revealed larger EGGW25 and peak-to-peak amplitude values of the electroglottography waveform, suggesting greater vocal fold contact area and longer glottal closure for the emphatic approach. Long-term average spectrum analyses of the entire production displayed minor variation across all formant frequencies, suggesting an insignificant change in vocal tract shaping between the two approaches. This single-case objective study emphasizes the reality of physiological, aerodynamic, and acoustic production differences in the interpretive and pedagogical aspects of art song performance.

RevDate: 2021-02-12

Easwar V, Bridgwater E, D Purcell (2021)

The Influence of Vowel Identity, Vowel Production Variability, and Consonant Environment on Envelope Following Responses.

Ear and hearing pii:00003446-900000000-98551 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: The vowel-evoked envelope following response (EFR) is a useful tool for studying brainstem processing of speech in natural consonant-vowel productions. Previous work, however, demonstrates that the amplitude of EFRs is highly variable across vowels. To clarify factors contributing to the variability observed, the objectives of the present study were to evaluate: (1) the influence of vowel identity and the consonant context surrounding each vowel on EFR amplitude and (2) the effect of variations in repeated productions of a vowel on EFR amplitude while controlling for the consonant context.

DESIGN: In Experiment 1, EFRs were recorded in response to seven English vowels (/ij/, /I/, /ej/, /[Latin Small Letter Open E]/, /æ/, /u/, and /ɔ/) embedded in each of four consonant contexts (/hVd/, /sVt/, /zVf/, and /ЗVv/). In Experiment 2, EFRs were recorded in response to four different variants of one of the four possible vowels (/ij/, /[Latin Small Letter Open E]/, /æ/, or /ɔ/), embedded in the same consonant-vowel-consonant environments used in Experiment 1. All vowels were edited to minimize formant transitions before embedding in a consonant context. Different talkers were used for the two experiments. Data from a total of 30 and 64 (16 listeners/vowel) young adults with normal hearing were included in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. EFRs were recorded using a single-channel electrode montage between the vertex and nape of the neck while stimuli were presented monaurally.

RESULTS: In Experiment 1, vowel identity had a significant effect on EFR amplitude with the vowel /æ/ eliciting the highest amplitude EFRs (170 nV, on average), and the vowel /ej/ eliciting the lowest amplitude EFRs (106 nV, on average). The consonant context surrounding each vowel stimulus had no statistically significant effect on EFR amplitude. Similarly in Experiment 2, consonant context did not influence the amplitude of EFRs elicited by the vowel variants. Vowel identity significantly altered EFR amplitude with /[Latin Small Letter Open E]/ eliciting the highest amplitude EFRs (104 nV, on average). Significant, albeit small, differences (<21 nV, on average) in EFR amplitude were evident between some variants of /[Latin Small Letter Open E]/ and /u/.

CONCLUSION: Based on a comprehensive set of naturally produced vowel samples in carefully controlled consonant contexts, the present study provides additional evidence for the sensitivity of EFRs to vowel identity and variations in vowel production. The surrounding consonant context (after removal of formant transitions) has no measurable effect on EFRs, irrespective of vowel identity and variant. The sensitivity of EFRs to nuances in vowel acoustics emphasizes the need for adequate control and evaluation of stimuli proposed for clinical and research purposes.

RevDate: 2021-02-11

Hodges-Simeon CR, Grail GPO, Albert G, et al (2021)

Testosterone therapy masculinizes speech and gender presentation in transgender men.

Scientific reports, 11(1):3494.

Voice is one of the most noticeably dimorphic traits in humans and plays a central role in gender presentation. Transgender males seeking to align internal identity and external gender expression frequently undergo testosterone (T) therapy to masculinize their voices and other traits. We aimed to determine the importance of changes in vocal masculinity for transgender men and to determine the effectiveness of T therapy at masculinizing three speech parameters: fundamental frequency (i.e., pitch) mean and variation (fo and fo-SD) and estimated vocal tract length (VTL) derived from formant frequencies. Thirty transgender men aged 20 to 40 rated their satisfaction with traits prior to and after T therapy and contributed speech samples and salivary T. Similar-aged cisgender men and women contributed speech samples for comparison. We show that transmen viewed voice change as critical to transition success compared to other masculine traits. However, T therapy may not be sufficient to fully masculinize speech: while fo and fo-SD were largely indistinguishable from cismen, VTL was intermediate between cismen and ciswomen. fo was correlated with salivary T, and VTL associated with T therapy duration. This argues for additional approaches, such as behavior therapy and/or longer duration of hormone therapy, to improve speech transition.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Yang J, L Xu (2021)

Vowel Production in Prelingually Deafened Mandarin-Speaking Children With Cochlear Implants.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR [Epub ahead of print].

Purpose The purpose of this study was to characterize the acoustic profile and to evaluate the intelligibility of vowel productions in prelingually deafened, Mandarin-speaking children with cochlear implants (CIs). Method Twenty-five children with CIs and 20 age-matched children with normal hearing (NH) were recorded producing a list of Mandarin disyllabic and trisyllabic words containing 20 Mandarin vowels [a, i, u, y, ɤ, ɿ, ʅ, ai, ei, ia, ie, ye, ua, uo, au, ou, iau, iou, uai, uei] located in the first consonant-vowel syllable. The children with CIs were all prelingually deafened and received unilateral implantation before 7 years of age with an average length of CI use of 4.54 years. In the acoustic analysis, the first two formants (F1 and F2) were extracted at seven equidistant time locations for the tested vowels. The durational and spectral features were compared between the CI and NH groups. In the vowel intelligibility task, the extracted vowel portions in both NH and CI children were presented to six Mandarin-speaking, NH adult listeners for identification. Results The acoustic analysis revealed that the children with CIs deviated from the NH controls in the acoustic features for both single vowels and compound vowels. The acoustic deviations were reflected in longer duration, more scattered vowel categories, smaller vowel space area, and distinct formant trajectories in the children with CIs in comparison to NH controls. The vowel intelligibility results showed that the recognition accuracy of the vowels produced by the children with CIs was significantly lower than that of the NH children. The confusion pattern of vowel recognition in the children with CIs generally followed that in the NH children. Conclusion Our data suggested that the prelingually deafened children with CIs, with a relatively long duration of CI experience, still showed measurable acoustic deviations and lower intelligibility in vowel productions in comparison to the NH children.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Carl M, M Icht (2021)

Acoustic vowel analysis and speech intelligibility in young adult Hebrew speakers: Developmental dysarthria versus typical development.

International journal of language & communication disorders [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Developmental dysarthria is a motor speech impairment commonly characterized by varying levels of reduced speech intelligibility. The relationship between intelligibility deficits and acoustic vowel space among these individuals has long been noted in the literature, with evidence of vowel centralization (e.g., in English and Mandarin). However, the degree to which this centralization occurs and the intelligibility-acoustic relationship is maintained in different vowel systems has yet to be studied thoroughly. In comparison with American English, the Hebrew vowel system is significantly smaller, with a potentially smaller vowel space area, a factor that may impact upon the comparisons of the acoustic vowel space and its correlation with speech intelligibility. Data on vowel space and speech intelligibility are particularly limited for Hebrew speakers with motor speech disorders.

AIMS: To determine the nature and degree of vowel space centralization in Hebrew-speaking adolescents and young adults with dysarthria, in comparison with typically developing (TD) peers, and to correlate these findings with speech intelligibility scores.

METHODS & PROCEDURES: Adolescents and young adults with developmental dysarthria (secondary to cerebral palsy (CP) and other motor deficits, n = 17) and their TD peers (n = 17) were recorded producing Hebrew corner vowels within single words. For intelligibility assessments, naïve listeners transcribed those words produced by speakers with CP, and intelligibility scores were calculated.

OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Acoustic analysis of vowel formants (F1, F2) revealed a centralization of vowel space among speakers with CP for all acoustic metrics of vowel formants, and mainly for the formant centralization ratio (FCR), in comparison with TD peers. Intelligibility scores were correlated strongly with the FCR metric for speakers with CP.

The main results, vowel space centralization for speakers with CP in comparison with TD peers, echo previous cross-linguistic results. The correlation of acoustic results with speech intelligibility carries clinical implications. Taken together, the results contribute to better characterization of the speech production deficit in Hebrew speakers with motor speech disorders. Furthermore, they may guide clinical decision-making and intervention planning to improve speech intelligibility. What this paper adds What is already known on the subject Speech production and intelligibility deficits among individuals with developmental dysarthria (e.g., secondary to CP) are well documented. These deficits have also been correlated with centralization of the acoustic vowel space, although primarily in English speakers. Little is known about the acoustic characteristics of vowels in Hebrew speakers with motor speech disorders, and whether correlations with speech intelligibility are maintained. What this paper adds to existing knowledge This study is the first to describe the acoustic characteristics of vowel space in Hebrew-speaking adolescents and young adults with developmental dysarthria. The results demonstrate a centralization of the acoustic vowel space in comparison with TD peers for all measures, as found in other languages. Correlation between acoustic measures and speech intelligibility scores were also documented. We discuss these results within the context of cross-linguistic comparisons. What are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work? The results confirm the use of objective acoustic measures in the assessment of individuals with motor speech disorders, providing such data for Hebrew-speaking adolescents and young adults. These measures can be used to determine the nature and severity of the speech deficit across languages, may guide intervention planning, as well as measure the effectiveness of intelligibility-based treatment programmes.

RevDate: 2021-01-30

Bakst S, CA Niziolek (2021)

Effects of syllable stress in adaptation to altered auditory feedback in vowels.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 149(1):708.

Unstressed syllables in English most commonly contain the vowel quality [ə] (schwa), which is cross-linguistically described as having a variable target. The present study examines whether speakers are sensitive to whether their auditory feedback matches their target when producing unstressed syllables. When speakers hear themselves producing formant-altered speech, they will change their motor plans so that their altered feedback is a better match to the target. If schwa has no target, then feedback mismatches in unstressed syllables may not drive a change in production. In this experiment, participants spoke disyllabic words with initial or final stress where the auditory feedback of F1 was raised (Experiment 1) or lowered (Experiment 2) by 100 mels. Both stressed and unstressed syllables showed adaptive changes in F1. In Experiment 1, initial-stress words showed larger adaptive decreases in F1 than final-stress words, but in Experiment 2, stressed syllables overall showed greater adaptive increases in F1 than unstressed syllables in all words, regardless of which syllable contained the primary stress. These results suggest that speakers are sensitive to feedback mismatches in both stressed and unstressed syllables, but that stress and metrical foot type may mediate the corrective response.

RevDate: 2021-01-26

Hakanpää T, Waaramaa T, AM Laukkanen (2021)

Training the Vocal Expression of Emotions in Singing: Effects of Including Acoustic Research-Based Elements in the Regular Singing Training of Acting Students.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(21)00002-3 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: This study examines the effects of including acoustic research-based elements of the vocal expression of emotions in the singing lessons of acting students during a seven-week teaching period. This information may be useful in improving the training of interpretation in singing.

STUDY DESIGN: Experimental comparative study.

METHODS: Six acting students participated in seven weeks of extra training concerning voice quality in the expression of emotions in singing. Song samples were recorded before and after the training. A control group of six acting students were recorded twice within a seven-week period, during which they participated in ordinary training. All participants sang on the vowel [a:] and on a longer phrase expressing anger, sadness, joy, tenderness, and neutral states. The vowel and phrase samples were evaluated by 34 listeners for the perceived emotion. Additionally, the vowel samples were analyzed for formant frequencies (F1-F4), sound pressure level (SPL), spectral structure (Alpha ratio = SPL 1500-5000 Hz - SPL 50-1500 Hz), harmonic-to-noise ratio (HNR), and perturbation (jitter, shimmer).

RESULTS: The number of correctly perceived expressions improved in the test group's vowel samples, while no significant change was observed in the control group. The overall recognition was higher for the phrases than for the vowel samples. Of the acoustic parameters, F1 and SPL significantly differentiated emotions in both groups, and HNR specifically differentiated emotions in the test group. The Alpha ratio was found to statistically significantly differentiate emotion expression after training.

CONCLUSIONS: The expression of emotion in the singing voice improved after seven weeks of voice quality training. The F1, SPL, Alpha ratio, and HNR differentiated emotional expression. The variation in acoustic parameters became wider after training. Similar changes were not observed after seven weeks of ordinary voice training.

RevDate: 2021-01-23

Mendoza Ramos V, Paulyn C, Van den Steen L, et al (2021)

Effect of boost articulation therapy (BArT) on intelligibility in adults with dysarthria.

International journal of language & communication disorders [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The articulatory accuracy of patients with dysarthria is one of the most affected speech dimensions with a high impact on speech intelligibility. Behavioural treatments of articulation can either involve direct or indirect approaches. The latter have been thoroughly investigated and are generally appreciated for their almost immediate effects on articulation and intelligibility. The number of studies on (short-term) direct articulation therapy is limited.

AIMS: To investigate the effects of short-term, boost articulation therapy (BArT) on speech intelligibility in patients with chronic or progressive dysarthria and the effect of severity of dysarthria on the outcome.

METHODS & PROCEDURES: The study consists of a two-group pre-/post-test design to assess speech intelligibility at phoneme and sentence level and during spontaneous speech, automatic speech and reading a phonetically balanced text. A total of 17 subjects with mild to severe dysarthria participated in the study and were randomly assigned to either a patient-tailored, intensive articulatory drill programme or an intensive minimal pair training. Both training programmes were based on the principles of motor learning. Each training programme consisted of five sessions of 45 min completed within one week.

OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Following treatment, a statistically significant increase of mean group intelligibility was shown at phoneme and sentence level, and in automatic sequences. This was supported by an acoustic analysis that revealed a reduction in formant centralization ratio. Within specific groups of severity, large and moderate positive effect sizes with Cohen's d were demonstrated.

BArT successfully improves speech intelligibility in patients with chronic or progressive dysarthria at different levels of the impairment. What this paper adds What is already known on the subject Behavioural treatment of articulation in patients with dysarthria mainly involves indirect strategies, which have shown positive effects on speech intelligibility. However, there is limited evidence on the short-term effects of direct articulation therapy at the segmental level of speech. This study investigates the effectiveness of BArT on speech intelligibility in patients with chronic or progressive dysarthria at all severity levels. What this paper adds to existing knowledge The intensive and direct articulatory therapy programmes developed and applied in this study intend to reduce the impairment instead of compensating it. This approach results in a significant improvement of speech intelligibility at different dysarthria severity levels in a short period of time while contributing to exploit and develop all available residual motor skills in persons with dysarthria. What are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work? The improvements in intelligibility demonstrate the effectiveness of a BArT at the segmental level of speech. This makes it to be considered a suitable approach in the treatment of patients with chronic or progressive dysarthria.

RevDate: 2021-01-17

Aung T, Goetz S, Adams J, et al (2021)

Low fundamental and formant frequencies predict fighting ability among male mixed martial arts fighters.

Scientific reports, 11(1):905.

Human voice pitch is highly sexually dimorphic and eminently quantifiable, making it an ideal phenotype for studying the influence of sexual selection. In both traditional and industrial populations, lower pitch in men predicts mating success, reproductive success, and social status and shapes social perceptions, especially those related to physical formidability. Due to practical and ethical constraints however, scant evidence tests the central question of whether male voice pitch and other acoustic measures indicate actual fighting ability in humans. To address this, we examined pitch, pitch variability, and formant position of 475 mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters from an elite fighting league, with each fighter's acoustic measures assessed from multiple voice recordings extracted from audio or video interviews available online (YouTube, Google Video, podcasts), totaling 1312 voice recording samples. In four regression models each predicting a separate measure of fighting ability (win percentages, number of fights, Elo ratings, and retirement status), no acoustic measure significantly predicted fighting ability above and beyond covariates. However, after fight statistics, fight history, height, weight, and age were used to extract underlying dimensions of fighting ability via factor analysis, pitch and formant position negatively predicted "Fighting Experience" and "Size" factor scores in a multivariate regression model, explaining 3-8% of the variance. Our findings suggest that lower male pitch and formants may be valid cues of some components of fighting ability in men.

RevDate: 2021-01-05

Bodaghi D, Jiang W, Xue Q, et al (2021)

Effect of Supraglottal Acoustics On Fluid-Structure Interaction During Human Voice Production.

Journal of biomechanical engineering pii:1094015 [Epub ahead of print].

A hydrodynamic/acoustic splitting method was used to examine the effect of supraglottal acoustics on fluid-structure interactions during human voice production in a two-dimensional computational model. The accuracy of the method in simulating compressible flows in typical human airway conditions was verified by comparing it to full compressible flow simulations. The method was coupled with a three-mass model of vocal fold lateral motion to simulate fluid-structure interactions during human voice production. By separating the acoustic perturbation components of the airflow, the method allows isolation of the role of supraglottal acoustics in fluid-structure interactions. The results showed that an acoustic resonance between a higher harmonic of the sound source and the first formant of the supraglottal tract occurred during normal human phonation when the fundamental frequency was much lower than the formants. The resonance resulted in acoustic pressure perturbation at the glottis which was of the same order as the incompressible flow pressure and found to affect vocal fold vibrations and glottal flow rate waveform. Specifically, the acoustic perturbation delayed the opening of the glottis, reduced the vertical phase difference of vocal fold vibrations, decreased flow rate and maximum flow deceleration rate at the glottal exit; yet, they had little effect on glottal opening. The results imply that the sound generation in the glottis and acoustic resonance in the supraglottal tract are coupled processes during human voice production and computer modeling of vocal fold vibrations needs to include supraglottal acoustics for accurate predictions.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Feng M, DM Howard (2021)

The Dynamic Effect of the Valleculae on Singing Voice - An Exploratory Study Using 3D Printed Vocal Tracts.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30459-8 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The valleculae can be seen as a pair of side branches of the human vocal tract like the piriform fossae. While the acoustic properties of the piriform fossae have been explored in detail, there is little evidence of full exploration of the acoustic properties of the valleculae. A recent investigation (Vampola, Horáček, & Švec, 2015), using a finite element model of a single vowel /a/, suggests that the valleculae created two antiresonances and two resonances in the high frequency region (above 4kHz) along with those produced by the piriform sinuses. In the current study, we investigate, in multiple vowels, the acoustic influences of the valleculae in singing voice, using 3-D printed vocal tracts.

METHOD: MRI data were collected from an operatic tenor singing English vowels /a/, /u/, /i/. The images of each vowel were segmented and edited to create a pair of tracts, where one is the original and one had the valleculae digitally removed.The printed tracts were then placed atop a vocal tract organ loudspeaker, excited by white noise. Recordings were made with a microphone placed in front of the mouths of the tracts, to measure their frequency responses.

RESULTS: Dimensional changes were observed in valleculae of different vowels, with the long-term average spectra of the recordings illustrating clear differences between the frequency responses of the va-nova (valleculae - no valleculae) pairs, which varies with vowels.

CONCLUSION: The experiment demonstrates the dynamic1 nature of the shapes of the valleculae in the human vocal tract and its acoustic consequences. It provides evidence that the valleculae have similar acoustic properties to the piriform fossae but with larger variations, and in some cases can influence acoustically the frequency region below 4kHz. The results suggest that large volume valleculae have the potential to impede to some extent the acoustic effect of the singers formant cluster and small valleculae may do the reverse. Since the volume of the valleculae is observed to be largely dependent on tongue movement and also with changes to the uttered vowel, it can be assumed that the high frequency energy, including that within the singer's formant region, could be vowel dependent. Strategies to control valleculae volumes are likely to be highly relevant to voice pedagogy practice as well as singing performance.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Lovcevic I, Kalashnikova M, D Burnham (2020)

Acoustic features of infant-directed speech to infants with hearing loss.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(6):3399.

This study investigated the effects of hearing loss and hearing experience on the acoustic features of infant-directed speech (IDS) to infants with hearing loss (HL) compared to controls with normal hearing (NH) matched by either chronological or hearing age (experiment 1) and across development in infants with hearing loss as well as the relation between IDS features and infants' developing lexical abilities (experiment 2). Both experiments included detailed acoustic analyses of mothers' productions of the three corner vowels /a, i, u/ and utterance-level pitch in IDS and in adult-directed speech. Experiment 1 demonstrated that IDS to infants with HL was acoustically more variable than IDS to hearing-age matched infants with NH. Experiment 2 yielded no changes in IDS features over development; however, the results did show a positive relationship between formant distances in mothers' speech and infants' concurrent receptive vocabulary size, as well as between vowel hyperarticulation and infants' expressive vocabulary. These findings suggest that despite infants' HL and thus diminished access to speech input, infants with HL are exposed to IDS with generally similar acoustic qualities as are infants with NH. However, some differences persist, indicating that infants with HL might receive less intelligible speech.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Nault DR, KG Munhall (2020)

Individual variability in auditory feedback processing: Responses to real-time formant perturbations and their relation to perceptual acuity.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(6):3709.

In this study, both between-subject and within-subject variability in speech perception and speech production were examined in the same set of speakers. Perceptual acuity was determined using an ABX auditory discrimination task, whereby speakers made judgments between pairs of syllables on a /ɛ/ to /æ/ acoustic continuum. Auditory feedback perturbations of the first two formants were implemented in a production task to obtain measures of compensation, normal speech production variability, and vowel spacing. Speakers repeated the word "head" 120 times under varying feedback conditions, with the final Hold phase involving the strongest perturbations of +240 Hz in F1 and -300 Hz in F2. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine whether individual differences in compensatory behavior in the Hold phase could be predicted by perceptual acuity, speech production variability, and vowel spacing. Perceptual acuity significantly predicted formant changes in F1, but not in F2. These results are discussed in consideration of the importance of using larger sample sizes in the field and developing new methods to explore feedback processing at the individual participant level. The potential positive role of variability in speech motor control is also considered.

RevDate: 2021-01-03

Kothare H, Raharjo I, Ramanarayanan V, et al (2020)

Sensorimotor adaptation of speech depends on the direction of auditory feedback alteration.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(6):3682.

A hallmark feature of speech motor control is its ability to learn to anticipate and compensate for persistent feedback alterations, a process referred to as sensorimotor adaptation. Because this process involves adjusting articulation to counter the perceived effects of altering acoustic feedback, there are a number of factors that affect it, including the complex relationship between acoustics and articulation and non-uniformities of speech perception. As a consequence, sensorimotor adaptation is hypothesised to vary as a function of the direction of the applied auditory feedback alteration in vowel formant space. This hypothesis was tested in two experiments where auditory feedback was altered in real time, shifting the frequency values of the first and second formants (F1 and F2) of participants' speech. Shifts were designed on a subject-by-subject basis and sensorimotor adaptation was quantified with respect to the direction of applied shift, normalised for individual speakers. Adaptation was indeed found to depend on the direction of the applied shift in vowel formant space, independent of shift magnitude. These findings have implications for models of sensorimotor adaptation of speech.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Houle N, SV Levi (2020)

Acoustic differences between voiced and whispered speech in gender diverse speakers.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(6):4002.

Whispered speech is a naturally produced mode of communication that lacks a fundamental frequency. Several other acoustic differences exist between whispered and voiced speech, such as speaking rate (measured as segment duration) and formant frequencies. Previous research has shown that listeners are less accurate at identifying linguistic information (e.g., identifying a speech sound) and speaker information (e.g., reporting speaker gender) from whispered speech. To further explore differences between voiced and whispered speech, acoustic differences were examined across three datasets (hVd, sVd, and ʃVd) and three speaker groups (ciswomen, transwomen, cismen). Consistent with previous studies, vowel duration was generally longer in whispered speech and formant frequencies were shifted higher, although the magnitude of these differences depended on vowel and gender. Despite the increase in duration, the acoustic vowel space area (measured either with a vowel quadrilateral or with a convex hull) was smaller in the whispered speech, suggesting that larger vowel space areas are not an automatic consequence of a lengthened articulation. Overall, these findings are consistent with previous literature showing acoustic differences between voiced and whispered speech beyond the articulatory change of eliminating fundamental frequency.

RevDate: 2021-01-24

Ananthakrishnan S, Grinstead L, D Yurjevich (2020)

Human Frequency Following Responses to Filtered Speech.

Ear and hearing, 42(1):87-105 pii:00003446-202101000-00009.

OBJECTIVES: There is increasing interest in using the frequency following response (FFR) to describe the effects of varying different aspects of hearing aid signal processing on brainstem neural representation of speech. To this end, recent studies have examined the effects of filtering on brainstem neural representation of the speech fundamental frequency (f0) in listeners with normal hearing sensitivity by measuring FFRs to low- and high-pass filtered signals. However, the stimuli used in these studies do not reflect the entire range of typical cutoff frequencies used in frequency-specific gain adjustments during hearing aid fitting. Further, there has been limited discussion on the effect of filtering on brainstem neural representation of formant-related harmonics. Here, the effects of filtering on brainstem neural representation of speech fundamental frequency (f0) and harmonics related to first formant frequency (F1) were assessed by recording envelope and spectral FFRs to a vowel low-, high-, and band-pass filtered at cutoff frequencies ranging from 0.125 to 8 kHz.

DESIGN: FFRs were measured to a synthetically generated vowel stimulus /u/ presented in a full bandwidth and low-pass (experiment 1), high-pass (experiment 2), and band-pass (experiment 3) filtered conditions. In experiment 1, FFRs were measured to a synthetically generated vowel stimulus /u/ presented in a full bandwidth condition as well as 11 low-pass filtered conditions (low-pass cutoff frequencies: 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz) in 19 adult listeners with normal hearing sensitivity. In experiment 2, FFRs were measured to the same synthetically generated vowel stimulus /u/ presented in a full bandwidth condition as well as 10 high-pass filtered conditions (high-pass cutoff frequencies: 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, and 6 kHz) in 7 adult listeners with normal hearing sensitivity. In experiment 3, in addition to the full bandwidth condition, FFRs were measured to vowel /u/ low-pass filtered at 2 kHz, band-pass filtered between 2-4 kHz and 4-6 kHz in 10 adult listeners with normal hearing sensitivity. A Fast Fourier Transform analysis was conducted to measure the strength of f0 and the F1-related harmonic relative to the noise floor in the brainstem neural responses obtained to the full bandwidth and filtered stimulus conditions.

RESULTS: Brainstem neural representation of f0 was reduced when the low-pass filter cutoff frequency was between 0.25 and 0.5 kHz; no differences in f0 strength were noted between conditions when the low-pass filter cutoff condition was at or greater than 0.75 kHz. While envelope FFR f0 strength was reduced when the stimulus was high-pass filtered at 6 kHz, there was no effect of high-pass filtering on brainstem neural representation of f0 when the high-pass filter cutoff frequency ranged from 0.125 to 4 kHz. There was a weakly significant global effect of band-pass filtering on brainstem neural phase-locking to f0. A trends analysis indicated that mean f0 magnitude in the brainstem neural response was greater when the stimulus was band-pass filtered between 2 and 4 kHz as compared to when the stimulus was band-pass filtered between 4 and 6 kHz, low-pass filtered at 2 kHz or presented in the full bandwidth condition. Last, neural phase-locking to f0 was reduced or absent in envelope FFRs measured to filtered stimuli that lacked spectral energy above 0.125 kHz or below 6 kHz. Similarly, little to no energy was seen at F1 in spectral FFRs obtained to low-, high-, or band-pass filtered stimuli that did not contain energy in the F1 region. For stimulus conditions that contained energy at F1, the strength of the peak at F1 in the spectral FFR varied little with low-, high-, or band-pass filtering.

CONCLUSIONS: Energy at f0 in envelope FFRs may arise due to neural phase-locking to low-, mid-, or high-frequency stimulus components, provided the stimulus envelope is modulated by at least two interacting harmonics. Stronger neural responses at f0 are measured when filtering results in stimulus bandwidths that preserve stimulus energy at F1 and F2. In addition, results suggest that unresolved harmonics may favorably influence f0 strength in the neural response. Lastly, brainstem neural representation of the F1-related harmonic measured in spectral FFRs obtained to filtered stimuli is related to the presence or absence of stimulus energy at F1. These findings add to the existing literature exploring the viability of the FFR as an objective technique to evaluate hearing aid fitting where stimulus bandwidth is altered by design due to frequency-specific gain applied by amplification algorithms.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Parrell B, C Niziolek (2020)

Increased speech contrast induced by sensorimotor adaptation to a non-uniform auditory perturbation.

Journal of neurophysiology [Epub ahead of print].

When auditory feedback is perturbed in a consistent way, speakers learn to adjust their speech to compensate, a process known as sensorimotor adaptation. While this paradigm has been highly informative for our understanding of the role of sensory feedback in speech motor control, its ability to induce behaviorally-relevant changes in speech that affect communication effectiveness remains unclear. Because reduced vowel contrast contributes to intelligibility deficits in many neurogenic speech disorders, we examine human speakers' ability to adapt to a non-uniform perturbation field which was designed to affect vowel distinctiveness, applying a shift that depended on the vowel being produced. Twenty-five participants were exposed to this "vowel centralization" feedback perturbation in which the first to formant frequencies were shifted towards the center of each participant's vowel space, making vowels less distinct from one another. Speakers adapted to this non-uniform shift, learning to produce corner vowels with increased vowel space area and vowel contrast to partially overcome the perceived centralization. The increase in vowel contrast occurred without a concomitant increase in duration and persisted after the feedback shift was removed, including after a 10-minute silent period. These findings establish the validity of a sensorimotor adaptation paradigm to increase vowel contrast, showing that complex, non-uniform alterations to sensory feedback can successfully drive changes relevant to intelligible communication.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Pisanski K, P Sorokowski (2021)

Human Stress Detection: Cortisol Levels in Stressed Speakers Predict Voice-Based Judgments of Stress.

Perception, 50(1):80-87.

Despite recent evidence of a positive relationship between cortisol levels and voice pitch in stressed speakers, the extent to which human listeners can reliably judge stress from the voice remains unknown. Here, we tested whether voice-based judgments of stress co-vary with the free cortisol levels and vocal parameters of speakers recorded in a real-life stressful situation (oral examination) and baseline (2 weeks prior). Hormone and acoustic analyses indicated elevated salivary cortisol levels and corresponding changes in voice pitch, vocal tract resonances (formants), and speed of speech during stress. In turn, listeners' stress ratings correlated significantly with speakers' cortisol levels. Higher pitched voices were consistently perceived as more stressed; however, the influence of formant frequencies, vocal perturbation and noise parameters on stress ratings varied across contexts, suggesting that listeners utilize different strategies when assessing calm versus stressed speech. These results indicate that nonverbal vocal cues can convey honest information about a speaker's underlying physiological level of stress that listeners can, to some extent, detect and utilize, while underscoring the necessity to control for individual differences in the biological stress response.

RevDate: 2020-12-09

Albuquerque L, Oliveira C, Teixeira A, et al (2020)

A Comprehensive Analysis of Age and Gender Effects in European Portuguese Oral Vowels.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30412-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The knowledge about the age effects in speech acoustics is still disperse and incomplete. This study extends the analyses of the effects of age and gender on acoustics of European Portuguese (EP) oral vowels, in order to complement initial studies with limited sets of acoustic parameters, and to further investigate unclear or inconsistent results. A database of EP vowels produced by a group of 113 adults, aged between 35 and 97, was used. Duration, fundamental frequency (f0), formant frequencies (F1 to F3), and a selection of vowel space metrics (F1 and F2 range ratios, vowel articulation index [VAI] and formant centralization ratio [FCR]) were analyzed. To avoid the arguable division into age groups, the analyses considered age as a continuous variable. The most relevant age-related results included: vowel duration increase in both genders; a general tendency to formant frequencies decrease for females; changes that were consistent with vowel centralization for males, confirmed by the vowel space acoustic indexes; and no evidence of F3 decrease with age, in both genders. This study has contributed to knowledge on aging speech, providing new information for an additional language. The results corroborated that acoustic characteristics of speech change with age and present different patterns between genders.

RevDate: 2020-12-10

Van Soom M, B de Boer (2020)

Detrending the Waveforms of Steady-State Vowels.

Entropy (Basel, Switzerland), 22(3):.

Steady-state vowels are vowels that are uttered with a momentarily fixed vocal tract configuration and with steady vibration of the vocal folds. In this steady-state, the vowel waveform appears as a quasi-periodic string of elementary units called pitch periods. Humans perceive this quasi-periodic regularity as a definite pitch. Likewise, so-called pitch-synchronous methods exploit this regularity by using the duration of the pitch periods as a natural time scale for their analysis. In this work, we present a simple pitch-synchronous method using a Bayesian approach for estimating formants that slightly generalizes the basic approach of modeling the pitch periods as a superposition of decaying sinusoids, one for each vowel formant, by explicitly taking into account the additional low-frequency content in the waveform which arises not from formants but rather from the glottal pulse. We model this low-frequency content in the time domain as a polynomial trend function that is added to the decaying sinusoids. The problem then reduces to a rather familiar one in macroeconomics: estimate the cycles (our decaying sinusoids) independently from the trend (our polynomial trend function); in other words, detrend the waveform of steady-state waveforms. We show how to do this efficiently.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Schild C, Aung T, Kordsmeyer TL, et al (2020)

Linking human male vocal parameters to perceptions, body morphology, strength and hormonal profiles in contexts of sexual selection.

Scientific reports, 10(1):21296.

Sexual selection appears to have shaped the acoustic signals of diverse species, including humans. Deep, resonant vocalizations in particular may function in attracting mates and/or intimidating same-sex competitors. Evidence for these adaptive functions in human males derives predominantly from perception studies in which vocal acoustic parameters were manipulated using specialist software. This approach affords tight experimental control but provides little ecological validity, especially when the target acoustic parameters vary naturally with other parameters. Furthermore, such experimental studies provide no information about what acoustic variables indicate about the speaker-that is, why attention to vocal cues may be favored in intrasexual and intersexual contexts. Using voice recordings with high ecological validity from 160 male speakers and biomarkers of condition, including baseline cortisol and testosterone levels, body morphology and strength, we tested a series of pre-registered hypotheses relating to both perceptions and underlying condition of the speaker. We found negative curvilinear and negative linear relationships between male fundamental frequency (fo) and female perceptions of attractiveness and male perceptions of dominance. In addition, cortisol and testosterone negatively interacted in predicting fo, and strength and measures of body size negatively predicted formant frequencies (Pf). Meta-analyses of the present results and those from two previous samples confirmed that fonegatively predicted testosterone only among men with lower cortisol levels. This research offers empirical evidence of possible evolutionary functions for attention to men's vocal characteristics in contexts of sexual selection.

RevDate: 2020-12-03

Leung Y, Oates J, Papp V, et al (2020)

Formant Frequencies of Adult Speakers of Australian English and Effects of Sex, Age, Geographical Location, and Vowel Quality.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30370-2 [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: The primary aim of this study was to provide normative formant frequency (F) values for male and female speakers of Australian English. The secondary aim was to examine the effects of speaker sex, age, vowel quality, and geographical location on F.

METHOD: The first three monophthong formant frequencies (F1, F2, and F3) for 244 female and 135 male speakers aged 18-60 years from a recent large-scale corpus of Australian English were analysed on a passage reading task.

RESULTS: Mixed effects linear regression models suggested that speaker sex, speaker age, and vowel quality significantly predicted F1, F2, and F3 (P = 0.000). Effect sizes suggested that speaker sex and vowel quality contributed most to the variations in F1, F2, and F3 whereas speaker age and geographical location contributed a smaller amount.

CONCLUSION: Both clinicians and researchers are provided with normative F data for 18-60 year-old speakers of Australian English. Such data have increased internal and external validity relative to previous literature. F normative data for speakers of Australian English should be considered with reference to speaker sex and vowel but it may not be practically necessary to adjust for speaker age and geographical location.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Tabain M, Kochetov A, R Beare (2020)

An ultrasound and formant study of manner contrasts at four coronal places of articulation.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(5):3195.

This study examines consonant manner of articulation at four coronal places of articulation, using ultrasound and formant analyses of the Australian language Arrernte. Stop, nasal, and lateral articulations are examined at the dental, alveolar, retroflex, and alveo-palatal places of articulation: /t̪ n̪ l̪ / vs /t n l/ vs /ʈɳɭ/ vs /c ɲ ʎ/. Ultrasound data clearly show a more retracted tongue root for the lateral, and a more advanced tongue root for the nasal, as compared to the stop. However, the magnitude of the differences is much greater for the stop∼lateral contrast than for the stop∼nasal contrast. Acoustic results show clear effects on F1 in the adjacent vowels, in particular the preceding vowel, with F1 lower adjacent to nasals and higher adjacent to laterals, as compared to stops. Correlations between the articulatory and acoustic data are particularly strong for this formant. However, the retroflex place of articulation shows effects according to manner for higher formants as well, suggesting that a better understanding of retroflex acoustics for different manners of articulation is required. The study also suggests that articulatory symmetry and gestural economy are affected by the size of the phonemic inventory.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Vampola T, Horáček J, Radolf V, et al (2020)

Influence of nasal cavities on voice quality: Computer simulations and experiments.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(5):3218.

Nasal cavities are known to introduce antiresonances (dips) in the sound spectrum reducing the acoustic power of the voice. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) model of the vocal tract (VT) of one female subject was created for vowels [a:] and [i:] without and with a detailed model of nasal cavities based on CT (Computer Tomography) images. The 3D FE models were then used for analyzing the resonances, antiresonances and the acoustic pressure response spectra of the VT. The computed results were compared with the measurements of a VT model for the vowel [a:], obtained from the FE model by 3D printing. The nasality affects mainly the lowest formant frequency and decreases its peak level. The results confirm the main effect of nasalization, i.e., that sound pressure level decreases in the frequency region of the formants F1-F2 and emphasizes the frequency region of the formants F3-F5 around the singer's formant cluster. Additionally, many internal local resonances in the nasal and paranasal cavities were found in the 3D FE model. Their effect on the acoustic output was found to be minimal, but accelerometer measurements on the walls of the 3D-printed model suggested they could contribute to structure vibrations.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Ishikawa K, J Webster (2020)

The Formant Bandwidth as a Measure of Vowel Intelligibility in Dysphonic Speech.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30403-3 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: The current paper examined the impact of dysphonia on the bandwidth of the first two formants of vowels, and the relationship between the formant bandwidth and vowel intelligibility.

METHODS: Speaker participants of the study were 10 adult females with healthy voice and 10 adult females with dysphonic voice. Eleven vowels in American English were recorded in /h/-vowel-/d/ format. The vowels were presented to 10 native speakers of American English with normal hearing, who were asked to select a vowel they heard from a list of /h/-vowel-/d/ words. The vowels were acoustically analyzed to measure the bandwidth of the first and second formants (B1 and B2). Separate Wilcoxon rank sum tests were conducted for each vowel for normal and dysphonic speech because the differences in B1 and B2 were found to not be normally distributed. Spearman correlation tests were conducted to evaluate the association between the difference in formant bandwidths and vowel intelligibility between the healthy and dysphonic speakers.

RESULTS: B1 was significantly greater in dysphonic vowels for seven of the eleven vowels, and lesser for only one of the vowels. There was no statistically significant difference in B2 between the normal and dysphonic vowels, except for the vowel /i/. The difference in B1 between normal and dysphonic vowels strongly predicted the intelligibility difference.

CONCLUSION: Dysphonia significantly affects B1, and the difference in B1 may serve as an acoustic marker for the intelligibility reduction in dysphonic vowels. This acoustic-perceptual relationship should be confirmed by a larger-scale study in the future.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Burckardt ES, Hillman RE, Murton O, et al (2020)

The Impact of Tonsillectomy on the Adult Singing Voice: Acoustic and Aerodynamic Measures.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30373-8 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Singers undergoing tonsillectomy are understandably concerned about possible sequelae to their voice. The surgical risks of laryngeal damage from intubation and upper airway scarring are valid reasons for singers to carefully consider their options for treatment of tonsil-related symptoms. No prior studies have statistically assessed objective voice outcomes in a group of adult singers undergoing tonsillectomy. This study determined the impact of tonsillectomy on the adult singing voice by determining if there were statistically significant changes in preoperative versus postoperative acoustic, aerodynamic, and Voice-Related Quality of Life (VRQOL) measures.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Tertiary Referral Academic Hospital SUBJECTS: Thirty singers undergoing tonsillectomy from 2012 to 2019.

METHODS: Acoustic recordings were obtained with Computerized Speech Lab (CSL) (Pentax CSL 4500) and analyzed with the Multidimensional Voice Program (MDVP) (Pentax MDVP) and Pratt Acoustic Analysis Software. Estimates of aerodynamic vocal efficiency were obtained and analyzed using the Phonatory Aerodynamic System (Pentax PAS 6600). Preoperative VRQOL scores were recorded, and singers were instructed to refrain from singing for 3 weeks following tonsillectomy. Repeat acoustic and aerodynamic measures as well as VRQOL scores were obtained at the first postoperative visit.

RESULTS: Average postoperative acoustic (jitter, shimmer, HNR) and aerodynamic (sound pressure level divided by subglottal pressure) parameters related to laryngeal phonatory function did not differ significantly from preoperative measures. The only statistically significant change in postoperative measures of resonance was a decrease in the 3rd formant (F3) for the /a/ vowel. Average postoperative VRQOL scores (79.8, SD18.7) improved significantly from preoperative VRQOL scores (89, SD12.2) (P = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS: Tonsillectomy does not appear to alter laryngeal voice production in adult singers as measured by standard acoustic and aerodynamic parameters. The observed decrease in F3 for the /a/ vowel is hypothetically related to increasing the pharyngeal cross-sectional area by removing tonsillar tissue, but this would not be expected to appreciably impact the perceptual characteristics of the vowel. Singers' self-assessment (VRQOL) improved after tonsillectomy.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Roberts B, RJ Summers (2020)

Informational masking of speech depends on masker spectro-temporal variation but not on its coherence.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(4):2416.

The impact of an extraneous formant on intelligibility is affected by the extent (depth) of variation in its formant-frequency contour. Two experiments explored whether this impact also depends on masker spectro-temporal coherence, using a method ensuring that interference occurred only through informational masking. Targets were monaural three-formant analogues (F1+F2+F3) of natural sentences presented alone or accompanied by a contralateral competitor for F2 (F2C) that listeners must reject to optimize recognition. The standard F2C was created using the inverted F2 frequency contour and constant amplitude. Variants were derived by dividing F2C into abutting segments (100-200 ms, 10-ms rise/fall). Segments were presented either in the correct order (coherent) or in random order (incoherent), introducing abrupt discontinuities into the F2C frequency contour. F2C depth was also manipulated (0%, 50%, or 100%) prior to segmentation, and the frequency contour of each segment either remained time-varying or was set to constant at the geometric mean frequency of that segment. The extent to which F2C lowered keyword scores depended on segment type (frequency-varying vs constant) and depth, but not segment order. This outcome indicates that the impact on intelligibility depends critically on the overall amount of frequency variation in the competitor, but not its spectro-temporal coherence.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Nenadić F, Coulter P, Nearey TM, et al (2020)

Perception of vowels with missing formant peaks.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(4):1911.

Although the first two or three formant frequencies are considered essential cues for vowel identification, certain limitations of this approach have been noted. Alternative explanations have suggested listeners rely on other aspects of the gross spectral shape. A study conducted by Ito, Tsuchida, and Yano [(2001). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 110, 1141-1149] offered strong support for the latter, as attenuation of individual formant peaks left vowel identification largely unaffected. In the present study, these experiments are replicated in two dialects of English. Although the results were similar to those of Ito, Tsuchida, and Yano [(2001). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 110, 1141-1149], quantitative analyses showed that when a formant is suppressed, participant response entropy increases due to increased listener uncertainty. In a subsequent experiment, using synthesized vowels with changing formant frequencies, suppressing individual formant peaks led to reliable changes in identification of certain vowels but not in others. These findings indicate that listeners can identify vowels with missing formant peaks. However, such formant-peak suppression may lead to decreased certainty in identification of steady-state vowels or even changes in vowel identification in certain dynamically specified vowels.

RevDate: 2021-01-24

Easwar V, Birstler J, Harrison A, et al (2020)

The Accuracy of Envelope Following Responses in Predicting Speech Audibility.

Ear and hearing, 41(6):1732-1746.

OBJECTIVES: The present study aimed to (1) evaluate the accuracy of envelope following responses (EFRs) in predicting speech audibility as a function of the statistical indicator used for objective response detection, stimulus phoneme, frequency, and level, and (2) quantify the minimum sensation level (SL; stimulus level above behavioral threshold) needed for detecting EFRs.

DESIGN: In 21 participants with normal hearing, EFRs were elicited by 8 band-limited phonemes in the male-spoken token /susa∫i/ (2.05 sec) presented between 20 and 65 dB SPL in 15 dB increments. Vowels in /susa∫i/ were modified to elicit two EFRs simultaneously by selectively lowering the fundamental frequency (f0) in the first formant (F1) region. The modified vowels elicited one EFR from the low-frequency F1 and another from the mid-frequency second and higher formants (F2+). Fricatives were amplitude-modulated at the average f0. EFRs were extracted from single-channel EEG recorded between the vertex (Cz) and the nape of the neck when /susa∫i/ was presented monaurally for 450 sweeps. The performance of the three statistical indicators, F-test, Hotelling's T, and phase coherence, was compared against behaviorally determined audibility (estimated SL, SL ≥0 dB = audible) using area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) curve, sensitivity (the proportion of audible speech with a detectable EFR [true positive rate]), and specificity (the proportion of inaudible speech with an undetectable EFR [true negative rate]). The influence of stimulus phoneme, frequency, and level on the accuracy of EFRs in predicting speech audibility was assessed by comparing sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV; the proportion of detected EFRs elicited by audible stimuli) and negative predictive value (NPV; the proportion of undetected EFRs elicited by inaudible stimuli). The minimum SL needed for detection was evaluated using a linear mixed-effects model with the predictor variables stimulus and EFR detection p value.

RESULTS: of the 3 statistical indicators were similar; however, at the type I error rate of 5%, the sensitivities of Hotelling's T (68.4%) and phase coherence (68.8%) were significantly higher than the F-test (59.5%). In contrast, the specificity of the F-test (97.3%) was significantly higher than the Hotelling's T (88.4%). When analyzed using Hotelling's T as a function of stimulus, fricatives offered higher sensitivity (88.6 to 90.6%) and NPV (57.9 to 76.0%) compared with most vowel stimuli (51.9 to 71.4% and 11.6 to 51.3%, respectively). When analyzed as a function of frequency band (F1, F2+, and fricatives aggregated as low-, mid- and high-frequencies, respectively), high-frequency stimuli offered the highest sensitivity (96.9%) and NPV (88.9%). When analyzed as a function of test level, sensitivity improved with increases in stimulus level (99.4% at 65 dB SPL). The minimum SL for EFR detection ranged between 13.4 and 21.7 dB for F1 stimuli, 7.8 to 12.2 dB for F2+ stimuli, and 2.3 to 3.9 dB for fricative stimuli.

CONCLUSIONS: EFR-based inference of speech audibility requires consideration of the statistical indicator used, phoneme, stimulus frequency, and stimulus level.

RevDate: 2020-12-26

Rakerd B, Hunter EJ, P Lapine (2019)

Resonance Effects and the Vocalization of Speech.

Perspectives of the ASHA special interest groups, 4(6):1637-1643.

Studies of the respiratory and laryngeal actions required for phonation are central to our understanding of both voice and voice disorders. The purpose of the present article is to highlight complementary insights about voice that have come from the study of vocal tract resonance effects.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Jeanneteau M, Hanna N, Almeida A, et al (2020)

Using visual feedback to tune the second vocal tract resonance for singing in the high soprano range.

Logopedics, phoniatrics, vocology [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: Over a range roughly C5-C6, sopranos usually tune their first vocal tract resonance (R1) to the fundamental frequency (fo) of the note sung: R1:fo tuning. Those who sing well above C6 usually adjust their second vocal tract resonance (R2) and use R2:fo tuning. This study investigated these questions: Can singers quickly learn R2:fo tuning when given suitable feedback? Can they subsequently use this tuning without feedback? And finally, if so, does this assist their singing in the high range?

METHODS: New computer software for the technique of resonance estimation by broadband excitation at the lips was used to provide real-time visual feedback on fo and vocal tract resonances. Eight sopranos participated. In a one-hour session, they practised adjusting R2 whilst miming (i.e. without phonating), and then during singing.

RESULTS: Six sopranos learned to tune R2 over a range of several semi-tones, when feedback was present. This achievement did not immediately extend their singing range. When the feedback was removed, two sopranos spontaneously used R2:fo tuning at the top of their range above C6.

CONCLUSIONS: With only one hour of training, singers can learn to adjust their vocal tract shape for R2:fo tuning when provided with visual feedback. One additional participant who spent considerable time with the software, acquired greater skill at R2:fo tuning and was able to extend her singing range. A simple version of the hardware used can be assembled using basic equipment and the software is available online.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Ayres A, Winckler PB, Jacinto-Scudeiro LA, et al (2020)

Speech characteristics in individuals with myasthenia gravis: a case control study.

Logopedics, phoniatrics, vocology [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease. The characteristic symptoms of the disease are muscle weakness and fatigue. These symptoms affect de oral muscles causing dysarthria, affecting about 60% of patients with disease progression.

PURPOSE: Describe the speech pattern of patients with MG and comparing with healthy controls (HC).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Case-control study. Participants were divided in MG group (MGG) with 38 patients MG diagnosed and HC with 18 individuals matched for age and sex. MGG was evaluated with clinical and motor scales and answered self-perceived questionnaires. Speech assessment of both groups included: recording of speech tasks, acoustic and auditory-perceptual analysis.

RESULTS: In the MGG, 68.24% of the patients were female, with average age of 50.21 years old (±16.47), 14.18 years (±9.52) of disease duration and a motor scale of 11.19 points (±8.79). The auditory-perceptual analysis verified that 47.36% (n = 18) participants in MGG presented mild dysarthria, 10.52% (n = 4) moderate dysarthria, with a high percentage of alterations in phonation (95.2%) and breathing (52.63%). The acoustic analysis verified a change in phonation, with significantly higher shimmer values in the MGG compared to the HC and articulation with a significant difference between the groups for the first formant of the /iu/ (p = <.001). No correlation was found between the diagnosis of speech disorder and the dysarthria self-perception questionnaire.

CONCLUSION: We found dysarthria mild in MG patients with changes in the motor bases phonation and breathing, with no correlation with severity and disease duration.

RevDate: 2020-12-17

Kim KS, Daliri A, Flanagan JR, et al (2020)

Dissociated Development of Speech and Limb Sensorimotor Learning in Stuttering: Speech Auditory-motor Learning is Impaired in Both Children and Adults Who Stutter.

Neuroscience, 451:1-21.

Stuttering is a neurodevelopmental disorder of speech fluency. Various experimental paradigms have demonstrated that affected individuals show limitations in sensorimotor control and learning. However, controversy exists regarding two core aspects of this perspective. First, it has been claimed that sensorimotor learning limitations are detectable only in adults who stutter (after years of coping with the disorder) but not during childhood close to the onset of stuttering. Second, it remains unclear whether stuttering individuals' sensorimotor learning limitations affect only speech movements or also unrelated effector systems involved in nonspeech movements. We report data from separate experiments investigating speech auditory-motor learning (N = 60) and limb visuomotor learning (N = 84) in both children and adults who stutter versus matched nonstuttering individuals. Both children and adults who stutter showed statistically significant limitations in speech auditory-motor adaptation with formant-shifted feedback. This limitation was more profound in children than in adults and in younger children versus older children. Between-group differences in the adaptation of reach movements performed with rotated visual feedback were subtle but statistically significant for adults. In children, even the nonstuttering groups showed limited visuomotor adaptation just like their stuttering peers. We conclude that sensorimotor learning is impaired in individuals who stutter, and that the ability for speech auditory-motor learning-which was already adult-like in 3-6 year-old typically developing children-is severely compromised in young children near the onset of stuttering. Thus, motor learning limitations may play an important role in the fundamental mechanisms contributing to the onset of this speech disorder.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Lester-Smith RA, Daliri A, Enos N, et al (2020)

The Relation of Articulatory and Vocal Auditory-Motor Control in Typical Speakers.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(11):3628-3642.

Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between feedback and feedforward control of articulation and voice by measuring reflexive and adaptive responses to first formant (F1) and fundamental frequency (fo) perturbations. In addition, perception of F1 and fo perturbation was estimated using passive (listening) and active (speaking) just noticeable difference paradigms to assess the relation of auditory acuity to reflexive and adaptive responses. Method Twenty healthy women produced single words and sustained vowels while the F1 or fo of their auditory feedback was suddenly and unpredictably perturbed to assess reflexive responses or gradually and predictably perturbed to assess adaptive responses. Results Typical speakers' reflexive responses to sudden perturbation of F1 were related to their adaptive responses to gradual perturbation of F1. Specifically, speakers with larger reflexive responses to sudden perturbation of F1 had larger adaptive responses to gradual perturbation of F1. Furthermore, their reflexive responses to sudden perturbation of F1 were associated with their passive auditory acuity to F1 such that speakers with better auditory acuity to F1 produced larger reflexive responses to sudden perturbations of F1. Typical speakers' adaptive responses to gradual perturbation of F1 were not associated with their auditory acuity to F1. Speakers' reflexive and adaptive responses to perturbation of fo were not related, nor were their responses related to either measure of auditory acuity to fo. Conclusion These findings indicate that there may be disparate feedback and feedforward control mechanisms for articulatory and vocal error correction based on auditory feedback.

RevDate: 2020-10-18

Pawelec ŁP, Graja K, A Lipowicz (2020)

Vocal Indicators of Size, Shape and Body Composition in Polish Men.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30352-0 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: From a human evolution perspective, identifying a link between physique and vocal quality could demonstrate dual signaling in terms of the health and biological condition of an individual. In this regard, this study investigates the relationship between men's body size, shape, and composition, and their vocal characteristics.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eleven anthropometric measurements, using seven indices, were carried out with 80 adult Polish male participants, while the speech analysis adopted a voice recording procedure that involved phonetically recording vowels /ɑː/, /ɛː/, /iː/, /ɔː/, /uː/ to define the voice acoustic components used in Praat software.

RESULTS: The relationship between voice parameters and body size/shape/composition was found. The analysis indicated that the formants and their derivatives were useful parameters for prediction of height, weight, neck, shoulder, waist, and hip circumferences. Fundamental frequency (F0) was negatively correlated with neck circumference at Adam's apple level and body height. Moreover neck circumference and F0 association was observed for the first time in this paper. The association between waist circumference and formant component showed a net effect. In addition, the formant parameters showed significant correlations with body shape, indicating a lower vocal timbre in men with a larger relative waist circumference.

DISCUSSION: Men with lower vocal pitch had wider necks, probably a result of larynx size. Furthermore, a greater waist circumference, presumably resulting from abdominal fat distribution in men, correlated with a lower vocal timbre. While these results are inconclusive, they highlight new directions for further research.

RevDate: 2020-10-08

Auracher J, Menninghaus W, M Scharinger (2020)

Sound Predicts Meaning: Cross-Modal Associations Between Formant Frequency and Emotional Tone in Stanzas.

Cognitive science, 44(10):e12906.

Research on the relation between sound and meaning in language has reported substantial evidence for implicit associations between articulatory-acoustic characteristics of phonemes and emotions. In the present study, we specifically tested the relation between the acoustic properties of a text and its emotional tone as perceived by readers. To this end, we asked participants to assess the emotional tone of single stanzas extracted from a large variety of poems. The selected stanzas had either an extremely high, a neutral, or an extremely low average formant dispersion. To assess the average formant dispersion per stanza, all words were phonetically transcribed and the distance between the first and second formant per vowel was calculated. Building on a long tradition of research on associations between sound frequency on the one hand and non-acoustic concepts such as size, strength, or happiness on the other hand, we hypothesized that stanzas with an extremely high average formant dispersion would be rated lower on items referring to Potency (dominance) and higher on items referring to Activity (arousal) and Evaluation (emotional valence). The results confirmed our hypotheses for the dimensions of Potency and Evaluation, but not for the dimension of Activity. We conclude that, at least in poetic language, extreme values of acoustic features of vowels are a significant predictor for the emotional tone of a text.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Song XY, Wang SJ, Xu ZX, et al (2020)

Preliminary study on phonetic characteristics of patients with pulmonary nodules.

Journal of integrative medicine, 18(6):499-504.

OBJECTIVE: Pulmonary nodules (PNs) are one of the imaging manifestations of early lung cancer screening, which should receive more attention. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that voice changes occur in patients with pulmonary diseases. The purpose of this study is to explore the differences in phonetic characteristics between patients with PNs and able-bodied persons.

METHODS: This study explores the phonetic characteristics of patients with PNs in order to provide a simpler and cheaper method for PN screening. It is a case-control study to explore the differences in phonetic characteristics between individuals with and without PNs. This study performed non-parametric statistics on acoustic parameters of vocalizations, collected from January 2017 to March 2018 in Shanghai, China, from these two groups; it explores the differences in third and fourth acoustic parameters between patients with PNs and a normal control group. At the same time, computed tomography (CT) scans, course of disease, combined disease and other risk factors of the patients were collected in the form of questionnaire. According to the grouping of risk factors, the phonetic characteristics of the patients with PNs were analyzed.

RESULTS: This study was comprised of 200 patients with PNs, as confirmed by CT, and 86 healthy people that served as a control group. Among patients with PNs, 43% had ground glass opacity, 32% had nodules with a diameter ≥ 8 mm, 19% had a history of smoking and 31% had hyperlipidemia. Compared with the normal group, there were statistically significant differences in pitch, intensity and shimmer in patients with PNs. Among patients with PNs, patients with diameters ≥ 8 mm had a significantly higher third formant. There was a significant difference in intensity, fourth formant and harmonics-to-noise ratio (HNR) between smoking and non-smoking patients. Compared with non-hyperlipidemia patients, the pitch, jitter and shimmer of patients with PNs and hyperlipidemia were higher and the HNR was lower; these differences were statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: This measurable changes in vocalizations can be in patients with PNs. Patients with PNs had lower and weaker voices. The size of PNs had an effect on the phonetic formant. Smoking may contribute to damage to the voice and formant changes. Voice damage is more pronounced in individuals who have PNs accompanied by hyperlipidemia.

RevDate: 2020-10-03

Melton J, Bradford Z, J Lee (2020)

Acoustic Characteristics of Vocal Sounds Used by Professional Actors Performing Classical Material Without Microphones in Outdoor Theatre.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30336-2 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Theatre actors use voice in virtually any physical position, moving or still, and perform in a wide range of venues. The present study investigated acoustic qualities required to perform classical material without electronic amplification in outdoor spaces.

DESIGN: Eight professional actors, four female, four male, from NY Classical Theatre performed one-minute monologues, first stationary, then moving, for audio recording in Central Park. Four subjects recorded two monologues each, from productions in which they played both male and female characters. Data were analyzed for fundamental frequency (F0), sound pressure level (SPL), and long-term average spectrum (LTAS).

RESULTS: Overall, F0 ranged between 75.38 and 530.33 Hz. Average F0 was 326 Hz stationary and 335.78 Hz moving for females, 248.54 Hz stationary, 252.82 Hz moving for males. SPL ranged from 28.54 to 110.51 dB for females, and 56.69 to 124.44 dB for males. Average SPL was 82 dB for females, 96.98 dB for males. On LTAS, females had a peak between 3 and 4 kHz ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 dB and another between 4 and 5 kHz ranging from 2 to 4.5 dB, while males had a peak between 3 and 4 kHz ranging from 1 to 8.5 dB.

CONCLUSION: Actors appear to use a similar F0 range across gender and performing conditions. Average F0 increased from stationary to moving. Males had greater SPL values than females, and the amplitude of peaks in the region of the Actor's Formant of LTAS curves was higher in male than female voices.

RevDate: 2020-10-02

Caverlé MWJ, AP Vogel (2020)

Stability, reliability, and sensitivity of acoustic measures of vowel space: A comparison of vowel space area, formant centralization ratio, and vowel articulation index.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(3):1436.

Vowel space (VS) measurements can provide objective information on formant distribution and act as a proxy for vowel production. There are a number of proposed ways to quantify vowel production clinically, including vowel space area, formant centralization ratio, and vowel articulation index (VAI). The stability, reliability, and sensitivity of three VS measurements were investigated in two experiments. Stability was explored across three inter-recording intervals and challenged in two sensitivity conditions. Data suggest that VAI is the most stable measure across 30 s, 2 h, and 4 h inter-recording intervals. VAI appears the most sensitive metric of the three measures in conditions of fatigue and noise. These analyses highlight the need for stability and sensitivity analysis when developing and validating acoustic metrics, and underscore the potential of the VAI for vowel analysis.

RevDate: 2020-10-02

Kaya Z, Soltanipour M, A Treves (2020)

Non-hexagonal neural dynamics in vowel space.

AIMS neuroscience, 7(3):275-298.

Are the grid cells discovered in rodents relevant to human cognition? Following up on two seminal studies by others, we aimed to check whether an approximate 6-fold, grid-like symmetry shows up in the cortical activity of humans who "navigate" between vowels, given that vowel space can be approximated with a continuous trapezoidal 2D manifold, spanned by the first and second formant frequencies. We created 30 vowel trajectories in the assumedly flat central portion of the trapezoid. Each of these trajectories had a duration of 240 milliseconds, with a steady start and end point on the perimeter of a "wheel". We hypothesized that if the neural representation of this "box" is similar to that of rodent grid units, there should be an at least partial hexagonal (6-fold) symmetry in the EEG response of participants who navigate it. We have not found any dominant n-fold symmetry, however, but instead, using PCAs, we find indications that the vowel representation may reflect phonetic features, as positioned on the vowel manifold. The suggestion, therefore, is that vowels are encoded in relation to their salient sensory-perceptual variables, and are not assigned to arbitrary grid-like abstract maps. Finally, we explored the relationship between the first PCA eigenvector and putative vowel attractors for native Italian speakers, who served as the subjects in our study.

RevDate: 2021-01-12
CmpDate: 2021-01-12

Moon IJ, Kang S, Boichenko N, et al (2020)

Meter enhances the subcortical processing of speech sounds at a strong beat.

Scientific reports, 10(1):15973.

The temporal structure of sound such as in music and speech increases the efficiency of auditory processing by providing listeners with a predictable context. Musical meter is a good example of a sound structure that is temporally organized in a hierarchical manner, with recent studies showing that meter optimizes neural processing, particularly for sounds located at a higher metrical position or strong beat. Whereas enhanced cortical auditory processing at times of high metric strength has been studied, there is to date no direct evidence showing metrical modulation of subcortical processing. In this work, we examined the effect of meter on the subcortical encoding of sounds by measuring human auditory frequency-following responses to speech presented at four different metrical positions. Results show that neural encoding of the fundamental frequency of the vowel was enhanced at the strong beat, and also that the neural consistency of the vowel was the highest at the strong beat. When comparing musicians to non-musicians, musicians were found, at the strong beat, to selectively enhance the behaviorally relevant component of the speech sound, namely the formant frequency of the transient part. Our findings indicate that the meter of sound influences subcortical processing, and this metrical modulation differs depending on musical expertise.

RevDate: 2021-01-11
CmpDate: 2020-10-19

Park EJ, Kim JH, Choi YH, et al (2020)

Association between phonation and the vowel quadrilateral in patients with stroke: A retrospective observational study.

Medicine, 99(39):e22236.

Articulation disorder is associated with impaired control of respiration and speech organ movement. There are many cases of dysarthria and dysphonia in stroke patients. Dysphonia adversely affects communication and social activities, and it can interfere with everyday life. The purpose of this study is to assess the association between phonation abilities and the vowel quadrilateral in stroke patients.The subjects were stroke patients with pronunciation and phonation disorders. The resonance frequency was measured for the 4 corner vowels to measure the vowel space area (VSA) and formant centralization ratio (FCR). Phonation ability was evaluated by the Dysphonia Severity Index (DSI) and maximal phonation time (MPT) through acoustic evaluation for each vowel. Pearsons correlation analysis was performed to confirm the association, and multiple linear regression analysis was performed between variables.The correlation coefficients of VSA and MPT/u/ were 0.420, VSA and MPT/i/ were 0.536, VSA and DSI/u/ were 0.392, VSA and DSI /i/ were 0.364, and FCR and DSI /i/ were -0.448. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that VSA was a factor significantly influencing MPT/u/ (β = 0.420, P = .021, R = 0.147), MPT/i/ (β = 0.536, P = .002, R = 0.262), DSI/u/ (β = 0.564, P = .045, R = 0.256), and DSI/i/ (β = 0.600, P = .03, R = 0.302).The vowel quadrilateral can be a useful tool for evaluating the phonation function of stroke patients.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Ge S, Wan Q, Yin M, et al (2020)

Quantitative acoustic metrics of vowel production in mandarin-speakers with post-stroke spastic dysarthria.

Clinical linguistics & phonetics [Epub ahead of print].

Impairment of vowel production in dysarthria has been highly valued. This study aimed to explore the vowel production of Mandarin-speakers with post-stroke spastic dysarthria in connected speech and to explore the influence of gender and tone on the vowel production. Multiple vowel acoustic metrics, including F1 range, F2 range, vowel space area (VSA), vowel articulation index (VAI) and formant centralization ratio (FCR), were analyzed from vowel tokens embedded in connected speech produced. The participants included 25 clients with spastic dysarthria secondary to stroke (15 males, 10 females) and 25 speakers with no history of neurological disease (15 males, 10 females). Variance analyses were conducted and the results showed that the main effects of population, gender, and tone on F2 range, VSA, VAI, and FCR were all significant. Vowel production became centralized in the clients with post-stroke spastic dysarthria. Vowel production was found to be more centralized in males compared to females. Vowels in neutral tone (T0) were the most centralized among the other tones. The quantitative acoustic metrics of F2 range, VSA, VAI, and FCR were effective in predicting vowel production in Mandarin-speaking clients with post-stroke spastic dysarthria, and hence may be used as powerful tools to assess the speech performance for this population.

RevDate: 2021-01-25

Daliri A, Chao SC, LC Fitzgerald (2020)

Compensatory Responses to Formant Perturbations Proportionally Decrease as Perturbations Increase.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(10):3392-3407.

Purpose We continuously monitor our speech output to detect potential errors in our productions. When we encounter errors, we rapidly change our speech output to compensate for the errors. However, it remains unclear whether we adjust the magnitude of our compensatory responses based on the characteristics of errors. Method Participants (N = 30 adults) produced monosyllabic words containing /ɛ/ (/hɛp/, /hɛd/, /hɛk/) while receiving perturbed or unperturbed auditory feedback. In the perturbed trials, we applied two different types of formant perturbations: (a) the F1 shift, in which the first formant of /ɛ/ was increased, and (b) the F1-F2 shift, in which the first formant was increased and the second formant was decreased to make a participant's /ɛ/ sound like his or her /æ/. In each perturbation condition, we applied three participant-specific perturbation magnitudes (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 ɛ-æ distance). Results Compensatory responses to perturbations with the magnitude of 1.5 ɛ-æ were proportionally smaller than responses to perturbation magnitudes of 0.5 ɛ-æ. Responses to the F1-F2 shift were larger than responses to the F1 shift regardless of the perturbation magnitude. Additionally, compensatory responses for /hɛd/ were smaller than responses for /hɛp/ and /hɛk/. Conclusions Overall, these results suggest that the brain uses its error evaluation to determine the extent of compensatory responses. The brain may also consider categorical errors and phonemic environments (e.g., articulatory configurations of the following phoneme) to determine the magnitude of its compensatory responses to auditory errors.

RevDate: 2020-09-21

Nilsson T, Laukkanen AM, T Syrjä (2020)

Effects of Sixteen Month Voice Training of Student Actors Applying the Linklater Voice Method.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30301-5 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the perceptual and acoustic changes in student actors' voices after 16 months of Linklater Voice training, which is a holistic method to train actors' voices.

METHODS: Eleven (n = 11) actor students' text and Voice Range Profile (VRP) recordings were analyzed pretraining and 16 months posttraining. From text readings at comfortable performance loudness, both perceptual and acoustic analyses were made. Acoustic measures included sound pressure level (SPL), fundamental frequency (fo), and sound level differences between different frequency ranges derived from long-term-average spectrum. Sustained vowels [i:], [o], and [e] abstracted from the text sample were analyzed for formant frequencies F1-F4 and the frequency difference between F4 and F3. The VRP was registered to investigate SPL of the softest and loudest phonations throughout the voice range.

RESULTS: The perceived pitch range during text reading increased significantly. The acoustic result showed a strong trend toward decreasing in minimum fo, and increasing in maximum fo and fo range. The VRP showed a significant increase in the fo range and dynamics (SPL range). Perceived voice production showed a trend toward phonation balance (neither pressed-nor breathy) and darker voice color posttraining.

CONCLUSION: The perceptual and acoustic analysis of text reading and acoustic measures of VRP suggest that LV training has a positive impact on voice.

RevDate: 2020-09-18

Di Natale V, Cantarella G, Manfredi C, et al (2020)

Semioccluded Vocal Tract Exercises Improve Self-Perceived Voice Quality in Healthy Actors.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30273-3 [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises (SOVTE) have shown to lead to more effective and efficient vocal production for individuals with voice disorders and for singers. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effects of a 10-minute SOVTE warm-up protocol on the actors' voice.

METHODS: Twenty-seven professional theater actors (16 females) without voice complaints were audio-recorded while reading aloud, with their acting voice, a short dramatic passage at four time points. Recordings were made: the day before the show, just before and soon after the warm-up protocol which was performed prior to the show and soon after the show. The voice quality was acoustically and auditory-perceptually evaluated and quantified at each time point by blinded raters. Self-assessment parameters anonymously collected pre and post exercising were also analyzed.

RESULTS: No statistically significant differences on perceptual ratings and acoustic parameters were found between pre/post exercise sessions and males/females. A statistically significant improvement was detected in the self-assessment parameters concerning comfort of production, sonorousness, vocal clarity and power.

CONCLUSIONS: Vocal warm-up with the described SOVTE protocol was effective in determining a self-perceived improvement in comfort of production, voice quality and power, although objective evidence was missing. This straightforward protocol could thus be beneficial if routinely utilized by professional actors to facilitate the voice performance.

RevDate: 2020-09-16

Sugathan N, S Maruthy (2020)

Predictive factors for persistence and recovery of stuttering in children: A systematic review.

International journal of speech-language pathology [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the available literature on various factors that can predict the persistence and recovery of stuttering in children.

METHOD: An electronic search yielded a total of 35 studies, which considered 44 variables that can be potential factors for predicting persistence and recovery.

RESULT: Among 44 factors studied, only four factors- phonological abilities, articulatory rate, change in the pattern of disfluencies, and trend in stuttering severity over one-year post-onset were identified to be replicated predictors of recovery of the stuttering. Several factors, such as differences in the second formant transition between fluent and disfluent speech, articulatory rate measured in phones/sec, etc., were observed to predict the future course of stuttering. However, these factors lack replicated evidence as predictors.

CONCLUSION: There is clear support only for limited factors as reliable predictors. Also, it is observed to be too early to conclude on several replicated factors due to differences in the age group of participants, participant sample size, and the differences in tools used in research that lead to mixed findings as a predictive factor. Hence there is a need for systematic and replicated testing of the factors identified before initiating their use for clinical purposes.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Palaparthi A, IR Titze (2020)

Analysis of Glottal Inverse Filtering in the Presence of Source-Filter Interaction.

Speech communication, 123:98-108.

The validity of glottal inverse filtering (GIF) to obtain a glottal flow waveform from radiated pressure signal in the presence and absence of source-filter interaction was studied systematically. A driven vocal fold surface model of vocal fold vibration was used to generate source signals. A one-dimensional wave reflection algorithm was used to solve for acoustic pressures in the vocal tract. Several test signals were generated with and without source-filter interaction at various fundamental frequencies and vowels. Linear Predictive Coding (LPC), Quasi Closed Phase (QCP), and Quadratic Programming (QPR) based algorithms, along with supraglottal impulse response, were used to inverse filter the radiated pressure signals to obtain the glottal flow pulses. The accuracy of each algorithm was tested for its recovery of maximum flow declination rate (MFDR), peak glottal flow, open phase ripple factor, closed phase ripple factor, and mean squared error. The algorithms were also tested for their absolute relative errors of the Normalized Amplitude Quotient, the Quasi-Open Quotient, and the Harmonic Richness Factor. The results indicated that the mean squared error decreased with increase in source-filter interaction level suggesting that the inverse filtering algorithms perform better in the presence of source-filter interaction. All glottal inverse filtering algorithms predicted the open phase ripple factor better than the closed phase ripple factor of a glottal flow waveform, irrespective of the source-filter interaction level. Major prediction errors occurred in the estimation of the closed phase ripple factor, MFDR, peak glottal flow, normalized amplitude quotient, and Quasi-Open Quotient. Feedback-related nonlinearity (source-filter interaction) affected the recovered signal primarily when fo was well below the first formant frequency of a vowel. The prediction error increased when fo was close to the first formant frequency due to the difficulty of estimating the precise value of resonance frequencies, which was exacerbated by nonlinear kinetic losses in the vocal tract.

RevDate: 2020-09-12

Lopes LW, França FP, Evangelista DDS, et al (2020)

Does the Combination of Glottal and Supraglottic Acoustic Measures Improve Discrimination Between Women With and Without Voice Disorders?.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30300-3 [Epub ahead of print].

AIM: To analyze the accuracy of traditional acoustic measurements (F0, perturbation, and noise) and formant measurements in discriminating between women with and without voice disorders, and with different laryngeal disorders.

STUDY DESIGN: A descriptive, cross-sectional, and retrospective.

METHOD: Two hundred and sixty women participated. All participants recorded the spoken vowel /Ɛ/ and underwent laryngeal visual examination. Acoustic measures of the mean and standard deviation of the fundamental frequency (F0), jitter, shimmer, glottal-to-noise excitation ratio, and the values of the first three formants (F1, F2, and F3) were obtained.

RESULTS: Individual acoustic measurements did not demonstrate adequate (<70%) performance when discriminating between women with and without voice disorders. The combination of the standard deviation of the F0, shimmer, glottal-to-noise excitation ratio, F1, F2, and F3 showed acceptable (>70%) performance in classifying women with and without voice disorders. Individual measures of jitter as well as F1 and F3 demonstrated acceptable (>70%) performance when distinguishing women with different laryngeal diagnoses, including without voice disorders (healthy larynges), Reinke's edema, unilateral vocal fold paralysis, and sulcus vocalis. The combination of acoustic measurements showed excellent (>80%) performance when discriminating women without voice disorder from those with Reinke's edema (mean of F0, F1, and F3) and with sulcus vocalis (mean of F0, F1, and F2).

CONCLUSIONS: Individual formant and traditional acoustic measurements do not demonstrate adequate performance when discriminating between women with and without voice disorders. However, the combination of traditional and formant measurements improves the discrimination between the presence and absence of voice disorders and differentiates several laryngeal diagnoses.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Kishimoto T, Takamiya A, Liang KC, et al (2020)

The project for objective measures using computational psychiatry technology (PROMPT): Rationale, design, and methodology.

Contemporary clinical trials communications, 19:100649.

Introduction: Depressive and neurocognitive disorders are debilitating conditions that account for the leading causes of years lived with disability worldwide. However, there are no biomarkers that are objective or easy-to-obtain in daily clinical practice, which leads to difficulties in assessing treatment response and developing new drugs. New technology allows quantification of features that clinicians perceive as reflective of disorder severity, such as facial expressions, phonic/speech information, body motion, daily activity, and sleep.

Methods: Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and major and minor neurocognitive disorders as well as healthy controls are recruited for the study. A psychiatrist/psychologist conducts conversational 10-min interviews with participants ≤10 times within up to five years of follow-up. Interviews are recorded using RGB and infrared cameras, and an array microphone. As an option, participants are asked to wear wrist-band type devices during the observational period. Various software is used to process the raw video, voice, infrared, and wearable device data. A machine learning approach is used to predict the presence of symptoms, severity, and the improvement/deterioration of symptoms.

Discussion: The overall goal of this proposed study, the Project for Objective Measures Using Computational Psychiatry Technology (PROMPT), is to develop objective, noninvasive, and easy-to-use biomarkers for assessing the severity of depressive and neurocognitive disorders in the hopes of guiding decision-making in clinical settings as well as reducing the risk of clinical trial failure. Challenges may include the large variability of samples, which makes it difficult to extract the features that commonly reflect disorder severity.

Trial Registration: UMIN000021396, University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN).

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Skuk VG, Kirchen L, Oberhoffner T, et al (2020)

Parameter-Specific Morphing Reveals Contributions of Timbre and Fundamental Frequency Cues to the Perception of Voice Gender and Age in Cochlear Implant Users.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(9):3155-3175.

Purpose Using naturalistic synthesized speech, we determined the relative importance of acoustic cues in voice gender and age perception in cochlear implant (CI) users. Method We investigated 28 CI users' abilities to utilize fundamental frequency (F0) and timbre in perceiving voice gender (Experiment 1) and vocal age (Experiment 2). Parameter-specific voice morphing was used to selectively control acoustic cues (F0; time; timbre, i.e., formant frequencies, spectral-level information, and aperiodicity, as defined in TANDEM-STRAIGHT) in voice stimuli. Individual differences in CI users' performance were quantified via deviations from the mean performance of 19 normal-hearing (NH) listeners. Results CI users' gender perception seemed exclusively based on F0, whereas NH listeners efficiently used timbre. For age perception, timbre was more informative than F0 for both groups, with minor contributions of temporal cues. While a few CI users performed comparable to NH listeners overall, others were at chance. Separate analyses confirmed that even high-performing CI users classified gender almost exclusively based on F0. While high performers could discriminate age in male and female voices, low performers were close to chance overall but used F0 as a misleading cue to age (classifying female voices as young and male voices as old). Satisfaction with CI generally correlated with performance in age perception. Conclusions We confirmed that CI users' gender classification is mainly based on F0. However, high performers could make reasonable usage of timbre cues in age perception. Overall, parameter-specific morphing can serve to objectively assess individual profiles of CI users' abilities to perceive nonverbal social-communicative vocal signals.

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Hansen JHL, Bokshi M, S Khorram (2020)

Speech variability: A cross-language study on acoustic variations of speaking versus untrained singing.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(2):829.

Speech production variability introduces significant challenges for existing speech technologies such as speaker identification (SID), speaker diarization, speech recognition, and language identification (ID). There has been limited research analyzing changes in acoustic characteristics for speech produced by untrained singing versus speaking. To better understand changes in speech production of the untrained singing voice, this study presents the first cross-language comparison between normal speaking and untrained karaoke singing of the same text content. Previous studies comparing professional singing versus speaking have shown deviations in both prosodic and spectral features. Some investigations also considered assigning the intrinsic activity of the singing. Motivated by these studies, a series of experiments to investigate both prosodic and spectral variations of untrained karaoke singers for three languages, American English, Hindi, and Farsi, are considered. A comprehensive comparison on common prosodic features, including phoneme duration, mean fundamental frequency (F0), and formant center frequencies of vowels was performed. Collective changes in the corresponding overall acoustic spaces based on the Kullback-Leibler distance using Gaussian probability distribution models trained on spectral features were analyzed. Finally, these models were used in a Gausian mixture model with universal background model SID evaluation to quantify speaker changes between speaking and singing when the audio text content is the same. The experiments showed that many acoustic characteristics of untrained singing are considerably different from speaking when the text content is the same. It is suggested that these results would help advance automatic speech production normalization/compensation to improve performance of speech processing applications (e.g., speaker ID, speech recognition, and language ID).

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Winn MB, AN Moore (2020)

Perceptual weighting of acoustic cues for accommodating gender-related talker differences heard by listeners with normal hearing and with cochlear implants.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(2):496.

Listeners must accommodate acoustic differences between vocal tracts and speaking styles of conversation partners-a process called normalization or accommodation. This study explores what acoustic cues are used to make this perceptual adjustment by listeners with normal hearing or with cochlear implants, when the acoustic variability is related to the talker's gender. A continuum between /ʃ/ and /s/ was paired with naturally spoken vocalic contexts that were parametrically manipulated to vary by numerous cues for talker gender including fundamental frequency (F0), vocal tract length (formant spacing), and direct spectral contrast with the fricative. The goal was to examine relative contributions of these cues toward the tendency to have a lower-frequency acoustic boundary for fricatives spoken by men (found in numerous previous studies). Normal hearing listeners relied primarily on formant spacing and much less on F0. The CI listeners were individually variable, with the F0 cue emerging as the strongest cue on average.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Chung H (2020)

Acquisition and Acoustic Patterns of Southern American English /l/ in Young Children.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(8):2609-2624.

Purpose The aim of the current study was to examine /l/ developmental patterns in young learners of Southern American English, especially in relation to the effect of word position and phonetic contexts. Method Eighteen children with typically developing speech, aged between 2 and 5 years, produced monosyllabic single words containing singleton /l/ in different word positions (pre- vs. postvocalic /l/) across different vowel contexts (high front vs. low back) and cluster /l/ in different consonant contexts (/pl, bl/ vs. /kl, gl/). Each production was analyzed for its accuracy and acoustic patterns as measured by the first two formant frequencies and their difference (F1, F2, and F2-F1). Results There was great individual variability in /l/ acquisition patterns, with some 2- and 3-year-olds reaching 100% accuracy for prevocalic /l/, while others were below 70%. Overall, accuracy of prevocalic /l/ was higher than that of postvocalic /l/. Acoustic patterns of pre- and postvocalic /l/ showed greater differences in younger children and less apparent differences in 5-year-olds. There were no statistically significant differences between the acoustic patterns of /l/ coded as perceptually acceptable and those coded as misarticulated. There was also no apparent effect of vowel and consonant contexts on /l/ patterns. Conclusion The accuracy patterns of this study suggest an earlier development of /l/, especially prevocalic /l/, than has been reported in previous studies. The differences in acoustic patterns between pre- and postvocalic /l/, which become less apparent with age, may suggest that children alter the way they articulate /l/ with age. No significant acoustic differences between acceptable and misarticulated /l/, especially postvocalic /l/, suggest a gradient nature of /l/ that is dialect specific. This suggests the need for careful consideration of a child's dialect/language background when studying /l/.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Lee J, Kim H, Y Jung (2020)

Patterns of Misidentified Vowels in Individuals With Dysarthria Secondary to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(8):2649-2666.

Purpose The current study examines the pattern of misidentified vowels produced by individuals with dysarthria secondary to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Method Twenty-three individuals with ALS and 22 typical individuals produced 10 monophthongs in an /h/-vowel-/d/ context. One hundred thirty-five listeners completed a forced-choice vowel identification test. Misidentified vowels were examined in terms of the target vowel categories (front-back; low-mid-high) and the direction of misidentification (the directional pattern when the target vowel was misidentified, e.g., misidentification "to a lower vowel"). In addition, acoustic predictors of vowel misidentifications were tested based on log first formant (F1), log second formant, log F1 vowel inherent spectral change, log second formant vowel inherent spectral change, and vowel duration. Results First, high and mid vowels were more frequently misidentified than low vowels for all speaker groups. Second, front and back vowels were misidentified at a similar rate for both the Mild and Severe groups, whereas back vowels were more frequently misidentified than front vowels in typical individuals. Regarding the direction of vowel misidentification, vowel errors were mostly made within the same backness (front-back) category for all groups. In addition, more errors were found toward a lower vowel category than toward a higher vowel category in the Severe group, but not in the Mild group. Overall, log F1 difference was identified as a consistent acoustic predictor of the main vowel misidentification pattern. Conclusion Frequent misidentifications in the vowel height dimension and the acoustic predictor, F1, suggest that limited tongue height control is the major articulatory dysfunction in individuals with ALS. Clinical implications regarding this finding are discussed.

RevDate: 2021-01-18

Koo SK, Kwon SB, Koh TK, et al (2021)

Acoustic analyses of snoring sounds using a smartphone in patients undergoing septoplasty and turbinoplasty.

European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 278(1):257-263.

PURPOSE: Several studies have been performed using recently developed smartphone-based acoustic analysis techniques. We investigated the effects of septoplasty and turbinoplasty in patients with nasal septal deviation and turbinate hypertrophy accompanied by snoring by recording the sounds of snoring using a smartphone and performing acoustic analysis.

METHODS: A total of 15 male patients who underwent septoplasty with turbinoplasty for snoring and nasal obstruction were included in this prospective study. Preoperatively and 2 months after surgery, their bed partners or caregivers were instructed to record the snoring sounds. The intensity (dB), formant frequencies (F1, F2, F3, and F4), spectrogram pattern, and visual analog scale (VAS) score were analyzed for each subject.

RESULTS: Overall snoring sounds improved after surgery in 12/15 (80%) patients, and there was significant improvement in the intensity of snoring sounds after surgery (from 64.17 ± 12.18 dB to 55.62 ± 9.11 dB, p = 0.018). There was a significant difference in the F1 formant frequency before and after surgery (p = 0.031), but there were no significant differences in F2, F3, or F4. The change in F1 indicated that patients changed from mouth breathing to normal breathing. The degree of subjective snoring sounds improved significantly after surgery (VAS: from 5.40 ± 1.55 to 3.80 ± 1.26, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSION: Our results confirm that snoring is reduced when nasal congestion is improved, and they demonstrate that smartphone-based acoustic analysis of snoring sounds can be useful for diagnosis.

RevDate: 2020-12-21

Scott TL, Haenchen L, Daliri A, et al (2020)

Noninvasive neurostimulation of left ventral motor cortex enhances sensorimotor adaptation in speech production.

Brain and language, 209:104840.

Sensorimotor adaptation-enduring changes to motor commands due to sensory feedback-allows speakers to match their articulations to intended speech acoustics. How the brain integrates auditory feedback to modify speech motor commands and what limits the degree of these modifications remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of speech motor cortex in modifying stored speech motor plans. In a within-subjects design, participants underwent separate sessions of sham and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over speech motor cortex while speaking and receiving altered auditory feedback of the first formant. Anodal tDCS increased the rate of sensorimotor adaptation for feedback perturbation. Computational modeling of our results using the Directions Into Velocities of Articulators (DIVA) framework of speech production suggested that tDCS primarily affected behavior by increasing the feedforward learning rate. This study demonstrates how focal noninvasive neurostimulation can enhance the integration of auditory feedback into speech motor plans.

RevDate: 2020-07-28

Chung H, Munson B, J Edwards (2020)

Cross-Linguistic Perceptual Categorization of the Three Corner Vowels: Effects of Listener Language and Talker Age.

Language and speech [Epub ahead of print].

The present study examined the center and size of naïve adult listeners' vowel perceptual space (VPS) in relation to listener language (LL) and talker age (TA). Adult listeners of three different first languages, American English, Greek, and Korean, categorized and rated the goodness of different vowels produced by 2-year-olds and 5-year-olds and adult speakers of those languages, and speakers of Cantonese and Japanese. The center (i.e., mean first and second formant frequencies (F1 and F2)) and size (i.e., area in the F1/F2 space) of VPSs that were categorized either into /a/, /i/, or /u/ were calculated for each LL and TA group. All center and size calculations were weighted by the goodness rating of each stimulus. The F1 and F2 values of the vowel category (VC) centers differed significantly by LL and TA. These effects were qualitatively different for the three vowel categories: English listeners had different /a/ and /u/ centers than Greek and Korean listeners. The size of VPSs did not differ significantly by LL, but did differ by TA and VCs: Greek and Korean listeners had larger vowel spaces when perceiving vowels produced by 2-year-olds than by 5-year-olds or adults, and English listeners had larger vowel spaces for /a/ than /i/ or /u/. Findings indicate that vowel perceptual categories of listeners varied by the nature of their native vowel system, and were sensitive to TA.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Mefferd AS, MS Dietrich (2020)

Tongue- and Jaw-Specific Articulatory Changes and Their Acoustic Consequences in Talkers With Dysarthria due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Effects of Loud, Clear, and Slow Speech.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(8):2625-2636.

Purpose This study aimed to determine how tongue and jaw displacement changes impact acoustic vowel contrast in talkers with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and controls. Method Ten talkers with ALS and 14 controls participated in this study. Loud, clear, and slow speech cues were used to elicit tongue and jaw kinematic as well as acoustic changes. Speech kinematics was recorded using three-dimensional articulography. Independent tongue and jaw displacements were extracted during the diphthong /ai/ in kite. Acoustic distance between diphthong onset and offset in Formant 1-Formant 2 vowel space indexed acoustic vowel contrast. Results In both groups, all three speech modifications elicited increases in jaw displacement (typical < slow < loud < clear). By contrast, only slow speech elicited significantly increased independent tongue displacement in the ALS group (typical = loud = clear < slow), whereas all three speech modifications elicited significantly increased independent tongue displacement in controls (typical < loud < clear = slow). Furthermore, acoustic vowel contrast significantly increased in response to clear and slow speech in the ALS group, whereas all three speech modifications elicited significant increases in acoustic vowel contrast in controls (typical < loud < slow < clear). Finally, only jaw displacements accounted for acoustic vowel contrast gains in the ALS group. In controls, however, independent tongue displacements accounted for increases in vowel acoustic contrast during loud and slow speech, whereas jaw and independent tongue displacements accounted equally for acoustic vowel contrast change during clear speech. Conclusion Kinematic findings suggest that slow speech may be better suited to target independent tongue displacements in talkers with ALS than clear and loud speech. However, given that gains in acoustic vowel contrast were comparable for slow and clear speech cues in these talkers, future research is needed to determine potential differential impacts of slow and clear speech on perceptual measures, such as intelligibility. Finally, findings suggest that acoustic vowel contrast gains are predominantly jaw driven in talkers with ALS. Therefore, the acoustic and perceptual consequences of direct instructions of enhanced jaw movements should be compared to cued speech modification, such as clear and slow speech in these talkers.

RevDate: 2021-01-20

Laturnus R (2020)

Comparative Acoustic Analyses of L2 English: The Search for Systematic Variation.

Phonetica, 77(6):441-479.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Previous research has shown that exposure to multiple foreign accents facilitates adaptation to an untrained novel accent. One explanation is that L2 speech varies systematically such that there are commonalities in the productions of nonnative speakers, regardless of their language background.

METHODS: A systematic acoustic comparison was conducted between 3 native English speakers and 6 nonnative accents. Voice onset time, unstressed vowel duration, and formant values of stressed and unstressed vowels were analyzed, comparing each nonnative accent to the native English talkers. A subsequent perception experiment tests what effect training on regionally accented voices has on the participant's comprehension of nonnative accented speech to investigate the importance of within-speaker variation on attunement and generalization.

RESULTS: Data for each measure show substantial variability across speakers, reflecting phonetic transfer from individual L1s, as well as substantial inconsistency and variability in pronunciation, rather than commonalities in their productions. Training on native English varieties did not improve participants' accuracy in understanding nonnative speech.

CONCLUSION: These findings are more consistent with a hypothesis of accent attune-ment wherein listeners track general patterns of nonnative speech rather than relying on overlapping acoustic signals between speakers.

RevDate: 2020-09-04

Rishiq D, Harkrider A, Springer C, et al (2020)

Effects of Aging on the Subcortical Encoding of Stop Consonants.

American journal of audiology, 29(3):391-403.

Purpose The main purpose of this study was to evaluate aging effects on the predominantly subcortical (brainstem) encoding of the second-formant frequency transition, an essential acoustic cue for perceiving place of articulation. Method Synthetic consonant-vowel syllables varying in second-formant onset frequency (i.e., /ba/, /da/, and /ga/ stimuli) were used to elicit speech-evoked auditory brainstem responses (speech-ABRs) in 16 young adults (Mage = 21 years) and 11 older adults (Mage = 59 years). Repeated-measures mixed-model analyses of variance were performed on the latencies and amplitudes of the speech-ABR peaks. Fixed factors were phoneme (repeated measures on three levels: /b/ vs. /d/ vs. /g/) and age (two levels: young vs. older). Results Speech-ABR differences were observed between the two groups (young vs. older adults). Specifically, older listeners showed generalized amplitude reductions for onset and major peaks. Significant Phoneme × Group interactions were not observed. Conclusions Results showed aging effects in speech-ABR amplitudes that may reflect diminished subcortical encoding of consonants in older listeners. These aging effects were not phoneme dependent as observed using the statistical methods of this study.

RevDate: 2020-07-13

Al-Tamimi F, P Howell (2020)

Voice onset time and formant onset frequencies in Arabic stuttered speech.

Clinical linguistics & phonetics [Epub ahead of print].

Neuromuscular models of stuttering consider that making transitions between phones results in inappropriate temporal arrangements of articulators in people who stutter (PWS). Using this framework, the current study examined the acoustic productions of two fine-grained phonetic features: voice onset time (VOT) and second formant (F2). The hypotheses were that PWS should differ from fluent persons (FP) in VOT duration and F2 onset frequency as a result of the transition deficit for environments with complex phonetic features such as Arabic emphatics. Ten adolescent PWS and 10 adolescent FPs participated in the study. They read and memorized four monosyllabic plain-emphatic words silently. Data were analyzed by Repeated Measures ANOVAs. The positive and negative VOT durations of/t/vs./tˁ/and/d/vs./dˁ/and F2 onset frequency were measured acoustically. Results showed that stuttering was significantly affected by emphatic consonants. PWS had atypical VOT durations and F2 values. Findings are consistent with the atypicality of VOT and F2 reported for English-speaking PWS. This atypicality is realized differently in Arabic depending on the articulatory complexity and cognitive load of the sound.

RevDate: 2020-09-02

Levy-Lambert D, Grigos MI, LeBlanc É, et al (2020)

Communication Efficiency in a Face Transplant Recipient: Determinants and Therapeutic Implications.

The Journal of craniofacial surgery, 31(6):e528-e530.

We longitudinally assessed speech intelligibility (percent words correct/pwc), communication efficiency (intelligible words per minute/iwpm), temporal control markers (speech and pause coefficients of variation), and formant frequencies associated with lip motion in a 41-year-old face transplant recipient. Pwc and iwpm at 13 months post-transplantation were both higher than preoperative values. Multivariate regression demonstrated that temporal markers and all formant frequencies associated with lip motion were significant predictors (P < 0.05) of communication efficiency, highlighting the interplay of these variables in generating intelligible and effective speech. These findings can guide us in developing personalized rehabilitative approaches in face transplant recipients for optimal speech outcomes.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Kim KS, Wang H, L Max (2020)

It's About Time: Minimizing Hardware and Software Latencies in Speech Research With Real-Time Auditory Feedback.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(8):2522-2534.

Purpose Various aspects of speech production related to auditory-motor integration and learning have been examined through auditory feedback perturbation paradigms in which participants' acoustic speech output is experimentally altered and played back via earphones/headphones "in real time." Scientific rigor requires high precision in determining and reporting the involved hardware and software latencies. Many reports in the literature, however, are not consistent with the minimum achievable latency for a given experimental setup. Here, we focus specifically on this methodological issue associated with implementing real-time auditory feedback perturbations, and we offer concrete suggestions for increased reproducibility in this particular line of work. Method Hardware and software latencies as well as total feedback loop latency were measured for formant perturbation studies with the Audapter software. Measurements were conducted for various audio interfaces, desktop and laptop computers, and audio drivers. An approach for lowering Audapter's software latency through nondefault parameter specification was also tested. Results Oft-overlooked hardware-specific latencies were not negligible for some of the tested audio interfaces (adding up to 15 ms). Total feedback loop latencies (including both hardware and software latency) were also generally larger than claimed in the literature. Nondefault parameter values can improve Audapter's own processing latency without negative impact on formant tracking. Conclusions Audio interface selection and software parameter optimization substantially affect total feedback loop latency. Thus, the actual total latency (hardware plus software) needs to be correctly measured and described in all published reports. Future speech research with "real-time" auditory feedback perturbations should increase scientific rigor by minimizing this latency.

RevDate: 2020-07-06

Vurma A (2020)

Amplitude Effects of Vocal Tract Resonance Adjustments When Singing Louder.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30194-6 [Epub ahead of print].

In the literature on vocal pedagogy we may find suggestions to increase the mouth opening when singing louder. It is known that sopranos tend to sing loud high notes with a wider mouth opening which raises the frequency of the first resonance of the vocal tract (fR1) to tune it close to the fundamental. Our experiment with classically trained male singers revealed that they also tended to raise the fR1 with the dynamics at pitches where the formant tuning does not seem relevant. The analysis by synthesis showed that such behaviour may contribute to the strengthening of the singer's formant by several dB-s and to a rise in the centre of spectral gravity. The contribution of the fR1 raising to the overall sound level was less consistent. Changing the extent of the mouth opening with the dynamics may create several simultaneous semantic cues that signal how prominent the produced sound is and how great the physical effort by the singer is. The diminishing of the mouth opening when singing piano may also have an importance as it helps singers to produce a quieter sound by increasing the distance between the fR1 and higher resonances, which lowers the transfer function of the vocal tract at the relevant spectral regions.

RevDate: 2020-10-19

Chaturvedi R, Kraus M, RSE Keefe (2020)

A new measure of authentic auditory emotion recognition: Application to patients with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia research, 222:450-454.

BACKGROUND: Many social processes such as emotion recognition are severely impaired in patients with schizophrenia. While basic auditory processing seems to play a key role in identifying emotions, research in this field is limited due to the lack of proper assessment batteries. Many of the widely accepted tests utilize actors to portray certain emotions-these batteries are less ecologically and face valid.

METHODS: This study utilized a newly developed auditory emotion recognition test that contained natural stimuli from spontaneous displays of emotions to assess 28 patients with schizophrenia and 16 healthy controls.

RESULTS: The results indicate that the newly developed test, referred to as the INTONATION Test, is more sensitive to the emotion recognition deficits in patients with schizophrenia than previously used measures. The correlations of the INTONATION Test measures with basic auditory processes were similar to established tests of auditory emotion. Particular emotion sub scores from the INTONTATION test, such as happiness, demonstrated the strongest correlations with specific auditory processing skills, such as formant discrimination and sinusoidal amplitude modulation detection (SAM60).

CONCLUSIONS: The results from this study indicate that auditory emotion recognition impairments are more pronounced in patients with schizophrenia when perceiving authentic displays of emotion. Understanding these deficits could help specify the nature of auditory emotion recognition deficits in patients with schizophrenia and those at risk.

RevDate: 2020-07-02

Toutios A, Xu M, Byrd D, et al (2020)

How an aglossic speaker produces an alveolar-like percept without a functional tongue tip.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(6):EL460.

It has been previously observed [McMicken, Salles, Berg, Vento-Wilson, Rogers, Toutios, and Narayanan. (2017). J. Commun. Disorders, Deaf Stud. Hear. Aids 5(2), 1-6] using real-time magnetic resonance imaging that a speaker with severe congenital tongue hypoplasia (aglossia) had developed a compensatory articulatory strategy where she, in the absence of a functional tongue tip, produced a plosive consonant perceptually similar to /d/ using a bilabial constriction. The present paper provides an updated account of this strategy. It is suggested that the previously observed compensatory bilabial closing that occurs during this speaker's /d/ production is consistent with vocal tract shaping resulting from hyoid raising created with mylohyoid action, which may also be involved in typical /d/ production. Simulating this strategy in a dynamic articulatory synthesis experiment leads to the generation of /d/-like formant transitions.

RevDate: 2020-07-05

Harper S, Goldstein L, S Narayanan (2020)

Variability in individual constriction contributions to third formant values in American English /ɹ/.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(6):3905.

Although substantial variability is observed in the articulatory implementation of the constriction gestures involved in /ɹ/ production, studies of articulatory-acoustic relations in /ɹ/ have largely ignored the potential for subtle variation in the implementation of these gestures to affect salient acoustic dimensions. This study examines how variation in the articulation of American English /ɹ/ influences the relative sensitivity of the third formant to variation in palatal, pharyngeal, and labial constriction degree. Simultaneously recorded articulatory and acoustic data from six speakers in the USC-TIMIT corpus was analyzed to determine how variation in the implementation of each constriction across tokens of /ɹ/ relates to variation in third formant values. Results show that third formant values are differentially affected by constriction degree for the different constrictions used to produce /ɹ/. Additionally, interspeaker variation is observed in the relative effect of different constriction gestures on third formant values, most notably in a division between speakers exhibiting relatively equal effects of palatal and pharyngeal constriction degree on F3 and speakers exhibiting a stronger palatal effect. This division among speakers mirrors interspeaker differences in mean constriction length and location, suggesting that individual differences in /ɹ/ production lead to variation in articulatory-acoustic relations.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Xu M, Tachibana RO, Okanoya K, et al (2020)

Unconscious and Distinctive Control of Vocal Pitch and Timbre During Altered Auditory Feedback.

Frontiers in psychology, 11:1224.

Vocal control plays a critical role in smooth social communication. Speakers constantly monitor auditory feedback (AF) and make adjustments when their voices deviate from their intentions. Previous studies have shown that when certain acoustic features of the AF are artificially altered, speakers compensate for this alteration in the opposite direction. However, little is known about how the vocal control system implements compensations for alterations of different acoustic features, and associates them with subjective consciousness. The present study investigated whether compensations for the fundamental frequency (F0), which corresponds to perceived pitch, and formants, which contribute to perceived timbre, can be performed unconsciously and independently. Forty native Japanese speakers received two types of altered AF during vowel production that involved shifts of either only the formant frequencies (formant modification; Fm) or both the pitch and formant frequencies (pitch + formant modification; PFm). For each type, three levels of shift (slight, medium, and severe) in both directions (increase or decrease) were used. After the experiment, participants were tested for whether they had perceived a change in the F0 and/or formants. The results showed that (i) only formants were compensated for in the Fm condition, while both the F0 and formants were compensated for in the PFm condition; (ii) the F0 compensation exhibited greater precision than the formant compensation in PFm; and (iii) compensation occurred even when participants misperceived or could not explicitly perceive the alteration in AF. These findings indicate that non-experts can compensate for both formant and F0 modifications in the AF during vocal production, even when the modifications are not explicitly or correctly perceived, which provides further evidence for a dissociation between conscious perception and action in vocal control. We propose that such unconscious control of voice production may enhance rapid adaptation to changing speech environments and facilitate mutual communication.

RevDate: 2020-07-17

White-Schwoch T, Magohe AK, Fellows AM, et al (2020)

Auditory neurophysiology reveals central nervous system dysfunction in HIV-infected individuals.

Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, 131(8):1827-1832.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects auditory-neurophysiological functions.

METHODS: A convenience sample of 68 HIV+ and 59 HIV- normal-hearing adults was selected from a study set in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The speech-evoked frequency-following response (FFR), an objective measure of auditory function, was collected. Outcome measures were FFRs to the fundamental frequency (F0) and to harmonics corresponding to the first formant (F1), two behaviorally relevant cues for understanding speech.

RESULTS: The HIV+ group had weaker responses to the F1 than the HIV- group; this effect generalized across multiple stimuli (d = 0.59). Responses to the F0 were similar between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Auditory-neurophysiological responses differ between HIV+ and HIV- adults despite normal hearing thresholds.

SIGNIFICANCE: The FFR may reflect HIV-associated central nervous system dysfunction that manifests as disrupted auditory processing of speech harmonics corresponding to the first formant.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

DiNino M, Arenberg JG, Duchen ALR, et al (2020)

Effects of Age and Cochlear Implantation on Spectrally Cued Speech Categorization.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(7):2425-2440.

Purpose Weighting of acoustic cues for perceiving place-of-articulation speech contrasts was measured to determine the separate and interactive effects of age and use of cochlear implants (CIs). It has been found that adults with normal hearing (NH) show reliance on fine-grained spectral information (e.g., formants), whereas adults with CIs show reliance on broad spectral shape (e.g., spectral tilt). In question was whether children with NH and CIs would demonstrate the same patterns as adults, or show differences based on ongoing maturation of hearing and phonetic skills. Method Children and adults with NH and with CIs categorized a /b/-/d/ speech contrast based on two orthogonal spectral cues. Among CI users, phonetic cue weights were compared to vowel identification scores and Spectral-Temporally Modulated Ripple Test thresholds. Results NH children and adults both relied relatively more on the fine-grained formant cue and less on the broad spectral tilt cue compared to participants with CIs. However, early-implanted children with CIs better utilized the formant cue compared to adult CI users. Formant cue weights correlated with CI participants' vowel recognition and in children, also related to Spectral-Temporally Modulated Ripple Test thresholds. Adults and child CI users with very poor phonetic perception showed additive use of the two cues, whereas those with better and/or more mature cue usage showed a prioritized trading relationship, akin to NH listeners. Conclusions Age group and hearing modality can influence phonetic cue-weighting patterns. Results suggest that simple nonlexical categorization tests correlate with more general speech recognition skills of children and adults with CIs.

RevDate: 2020-06-16

Chiu YF, Neel A, T Loux (2020)

Acoustic characteristics in relation to intelligibility reduction in noise for speakers with Parkinson's disease.

Clinical linguistics & phonetics [Epub ahead of print].

Decreased speech intelligibility in noisy environments is frequently observed in speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD). This study investigated which acoustic characteristics across the speech subsystems contributed to poor intelligibility in noise for speakers with PD. Speech samples were obtained from 13 speakers with PD and five healthy controls reading 56 sentences. Intelligibility analysis was conducted in quiet and noisy listening conditions. Seventy-two young listeners transcribed the recorded sentences in quiet and another 72 listeners transcribed in noise. The acoustic characteristics of the speakers with PD who experienced large intelligibility reduction from quiet to noise were compared to those with smaller intelligibility reduction in noise and healthy controls. The acoustic measures in the study included second formant transitions, cepstral and spectral measures of voice (cepstral peak prominence and low/high spectral ratio), pitch variation, and articulation rate to represent speech components across speech subsystems of articulation, phonation, and prosody. The results show that speakers with PD who had larger intelligibility reduction in noise exhibited decreased second formant transition, limited cepstral and spectral variations, and faster articulation rate. These findings suggest that the adverse effect of noise on speech intelligibility in PD is related to speech changes in the articulatory and phonatory systems.

RevDate: 2020-06-15

Rankinen W, K de Jong (2020)

The Entanglement of Dialectal Variation and Speaker Normalization.

Language and speech [Epub ahead of print].

This paper explores the relationship between speaker normalization and dialectal identity in sociolinguistic data, examining a database of vowel formants collected from 88 monolingual American English speakers in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Audio recordings of Finnish- and Italian-heritage American English speakers reading a passage and a word list were normalized using two normalization procedures. These algorithms are based on different concepts of normalization: Lobanov, which models normalization as based on experience with individual talkers, and Labov ANAE, which models normalization as based on experience with scale-factors inherent in acoustic resonators of all kinds. The two procedures yielded different results; while the Labov ANAE method reveals a cluster shifting of low and back vowels that correlated with heritage, the Lobanov procedure seems to eliminate this sociolinguistic variation. The difference between the two procedures lies in how they treat relations between formant changes, suggesting that dimensions of variation in the vowel space may be treated differently by different normalization procedures, raising the question of how anatomical variation and dialectal variation interact in the real world. The structure of the sociolinguistic effects found with the Labov ANAE normalized data, but not in the Lobanov normalized data, suggest that the Lobanov normalization does over-normalize formant measures and remove sociolinguistically relevant information.

RevDate: 2020-10-26

Ménard L, Prémont A, Trudeau-Fisette P, et al (2020)

Phonetic Implementation of Prosodic Emphasis in Preschool-Aged Children and Adults: Probing the Development of Sensorimotor Speech Goals.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(6):1658-1674.

Objective We aimed to investigate the production of contrastive emphasis in French-speaking 4-year-olds and adults. Based on previous work, we predicted that, due to their immature motor control abilities, preschool-aged children would produce smaller articulatory differences between emphasized and neutral syllables than adults. Method Ten 4-year-old children and 10 adult French speakers were recorded while repeating /bib/, /bub/, and /bab/ sequences in neutral and contrastive emphasis conditions. Synchronous recordings of tongue movements, lip and jaw positions, and speech signals were made. Lip positions and tongue shapes were analyzed; formant frequencies, amplitude, fundamental frequency, and duration were extracted from the acoustic signals; and between-vowel contrasts were calculated. Results Emphasized vowels were higher in pitch, intensity, and duration than their neutral counterparts in all participants. However, the effect of contrastive emphasis on lip position was smaller in children. Prosody did not affect tongue position in children, whereas it did in adults. As a result, children's productions were perceived less accurately than those of adults. Conclusion These findings suggest that 4-year-old children have not yet learned to produce hypoarticulated forms of phonemic goals to allow them to successfully contrast syllables and enhance prosodic saliency.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Groll MD, McKenna VS, Hablani S, et al (2020)

Formant-Estimated Vocal Tract Length and Extrinsic Laryngeal Muscle Activation During Modulation of Vocal Effort in Healthy Speakers.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(5):1395-1403.

Purpose The goal of this study was to explore the relationships among vocal effort, extrinsic laryngeal muscle activity, and vocal tract length (VTL) within healthy speakers. We hypothesized that increased vocal effort would result in increased suprahyoid muscle activation and decreased VTL, as previously observed in individuals with vocal hyperfunction. Method Twenty-eight healthy speakers of American English produced vowel-consonant-vowel utterances under varying levels of vocal effort. VTL was estimated from the vowel formants. Three surface electromyography sensors measured the activation of the suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscle groups. A general linear model was used to investigate the effects of vocal effort level and surface electromyography on VTL. Two additional general linear models were used to investigate the effects of vocal effort on suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscle activities. Results Neither vocal effort nor extrinsic muscle activity showed significant effects on VTL; however, the degree of extrinsic muscle activity of both suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscle groups increased with increases in vocal effort. Conclusion Increasing vocal effort resulted in increased activation of both suprahyoid and infrahyoid musculature in healthy adults, with no change to VTL.

RevDate: 2020-10-19
CmpDate: 2020-10-19

Zhou H, Lu J, Zhang C, et al (2020)

Abnormal Acoustic Features Following Pharyngeal Flap Surgery in Patients Aged Six Years and Older.

The Journal of craniofacial surgery, 31(5):1395-1399.

In our study, older velopharyngeal insufficiency (posterior velopharyngeal insufficiency) patients were defined as those older than 6 years of age. This study aimed to evaluate the abnormal acoustic features of older velopharyngeal insufficiency patients before and after posterior pharyngeal flap surgery. A retrospective medical record review was conducted for patients aged 6 years and older, who underwent posterior pharyngeal flap surgery between November 2011 and March 2015. The audio records of patients were evaluated before and after surgery. Spectral analysis was conducted by the Computer Speech Lab (CSL)-4150B acoustic system with the following input data: The vowel /i/, unaspirated plosive /b/, aspirated plosives /p/, aspirated fricatives /s/ and /x/, unaspirated affricates /j/ and /z/, and aspirated affricates /c/ and /q/. The patients were followed up for 3 months. Speech outcome was evaluated by comparing the postoperatively phonetic data with preoperative data. Subjective and objective analyses showed significant differences in the sonogram, formant, and speech articulation before and after the posterior pharyngeal flap surgery. However, the sampled patients could not be considered to have a high speech articulation (<85%) as the normal value was above or equal to 96%. Our results showed that pharyngeal flap surgery could correct the speech function of older patients with posterior velopharyngeal insufficiency to some extent. Owing to the original errors in pronunciation patterns, pathological speech articulation still existed, and speech treatment is required in the future.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Almurashi W, Al-Tamimi J, G Khattab (2020)

Static and dynamic cues in vowel production in Hijazi Arabic.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2917.

Static cues such as formant measurements obtained at the vowel midpoint are usually taken as the main correlate for vowel identification. However, dynamic cues such as vowel-inherent spectral change have been shown to yield better classification of vowels using discriminant analysis. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of static versus dynamic cues in Hijazi Arabic (HA) vowel classification, in addition to vowel duration and F3, which are not usually looked at. Data from 12 male HA speakers producing eight HA vowels in /hVd/ syllables were obtained, and classification accuracy was evaluated using discriminant analysis. Dynamic cues, particularly the three-point model, had higher classification rates (average 95.5%) than the remaining models (static model: 93.5%; other dynamic models: between 65.75% and 94.25%). Vowel duration had a significant role in classification accuracy (average +8%). These results are in line with dynamic approaches to vowel classification and highlight the relative importance of cues such as vowel duration across languages, particularly where it is prominent in the phonology.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Egurtzegi A, C Carignan (2020)

An acoustic description of Mixean Basque.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2791.

This paper presents an acoustic analysis of Mixean Low Navarrese, an endangered variety of Basque. The manuscript includes an overview of previous acoustic studies performed on different Basque varieties in order to synthesize the sparse acoustic descriptions of the language that are available. This synthesis serves as a basis for the acoustic analysis performed in the current study, in which the various acoustic analyses given in previous studies are replicated in a single, cohesive general acoustic description of Mixean Basque. The analyses include formant and duration measurements for the six-vowel system, voice onset time measurements for the three-way stop system, spectral center of gravity for the sibilants, and number of lingual contacts in the alveolar rhotic tap and trill. Important findings include: a centralized realization ([ʉ]) of the high-front rounded vowel usually described as /y/; a data-driven confirmation of the three-way laryngeal opposition in the stop system; evidence in support of an alveolo-palatal to apical sibilant merger; and the discovery of a possible incipient merger of rhotics. These results show how using experimental acoustic methods to study under-represented linguistic varieties can result in revelations of sound patterns otherwise undescribed in more commonly studied varieties of the same language.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Mellesmoen G, M Babel (2020)

Acoustically distinct and perceptually ambiguous: ʔayʔaǰuθəm (Salish) fricatives.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2959.

ʔayʔaǰuθəm (Comox-Sliammon) is a Central Salish language spoken in British Columbia with a large fricative inventory. Previous impressionistic descriptions of ʔayʔaǰuθəm have noted perceptual ambiguity of select anterior fricatives. This paper provides an auditory-acoustic description of the four anterior fricatives /θ s ʃ ɬ/ in the Mainland dialect of ʔayʔaǰuθəm. Peak ERBN trajectories, noise duration, and formant transitions are analysed in the fricative productions of five speakers. These analyses provide quantitative and qualitative descriptions of these fricative contrasts, indicating more robust acoustic differentiation for fricatives in onset versus coda position. In a perception task, English listeners categorized fricatives in CV and VC sequences from the natural productions. The results of the perception experiment are consistent with reported perceptual ambiguity between /s/ and /θ/, with listeners frequently misidentifying /θ/ as /s/. The production and perception data suggest that listener L1 categories play a role in the categorization and discrimination of ʔayʔaǰuθəm fricatives. These findings provide an empirical description of fricatives in an understudied language and have implications for L2 teaching and learning in language revitalization contexts.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Rosen N, Stewart J, ON Sammons (2020)

How "mixed" is mixed language phonology? An acoustic analysis of the Michif vowel system.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2989.

Michif, a severely endangered language still spoken today by an estimated 100-200 Métis people in Western Canada, is generally classified as a mixed language, meaning it cannot be traced back to a single language family [Bakker (1997). A Language of Our Own (Oxford University Press, Oxford); Thomason (2001). Language Contact: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press and Georgetown University Press, Edinburgh and Washington, DC); Meakins (2013). Contact Languages: A Comprehensive Guide (Mouton De Gruyter, Berlin), pp. 159-228.]. It has been claimed to maintain the phonological grammar of both of its source languages, French and Plains Cree [Rhodes (1977). Actes du Huitieme congrès des Algonqunistes (Carleton University, Ottawa), pp. 6-25; Bakker (1997). A Language of Our Own (Oxford University Press, Oxford); Bakker and Papen (1997). Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective (John Benjamins, Amsterdam), pp. 295-363]. The goal of this paper is twofold: to offer an instrumental analysis of Michif vowels and to investigate this claim of a stratified grammar, based on this careful phonetic analysis. Using source language as a variable in the analysis, the authors argue the Michif vowel system does not appear to rely on historical information, and that historically similar French and Cree vowels pattern together within the Michif system with regards to formant frequencies and duration. The authors show that there are nine Michif oral vowels in this system, which has merged phonetically similar French- and Cree-source vowels.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

van Brenk F, H Terband (2020)

Compensatory and adaptive responses to real-time formant shifts in adults and children.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2261.

Auditory feedback plays an important role in speech motor learning, yet, little is known about the strength of motor learning and feedback control in speech development. This study investigated compensatory and adaptive responses to auditory feedback perturbation in children (aged 4-9 years old) and young adults (aged 18-29 years old). Auditory feedback was perturbed by near-real-time shifting F1 and F2 of the vowel /ɪː/ during the production of consonant-vowel-consonant words. Children were able to compensate and adapt in a similar or larger degree compared to young adults. Higher token-to-token variability was found in children compared to adults but not disproportionately higher during the perturbation phases compared to the unperturbed baseline. The added challenge to auditory-motor integration did not influence production variability in children, and compensation and adaptation effects were found to be strong and sustainable. Significant group differences were absent in the proportions of speakers displaying a compensatory or adaptive response, an amplifying response, or no consistent response. Within these categories, children produced significantly stronger compensatory, adaptive, or amplifying responses, which could be explained by less-ingrained existing representations. The results are interpreted as both auditory-motor integration and learning capacities are stronger in young children compared to adults.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Chiu C, JT Sun (2020)

On pharyngealized vowels in Northern Horpa: An acoustic and ultrasound study.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2928.

In the Northern Horpa (NH) language of Sichuan, vowels are divided between plain and pharyngealized sets, with the latter pronounced with auxiliary articulatory gestures involving more constriction in the vocal tract. The current study examines how the NH vocalic contrast is manifested in line with the process of pharyngealization both acoustically and articulatorily, based on freshly gathered data from two varieties of the language (i.e., Rtsangkhog and Yunasche). Along with formant analyses, ultrasound imaging was employed to capture the tongue postures and positions during vowel production. The results show that in contrast with plain vowels, pharyngealized vowels generally feature lower F2 values and higher F1 and F3 values. Mixed results for F2 and F3 suggest that the quality contrasts are vowel-dependent. Ultrasound images, on the other hand, reveal that the vocalic distinction is affected by different types of tongue movements, including retraction, backing, and double bunching, depending on the inherent tongue positions for each vowel. The two NH varieties investigated are found to display differential formant changes and different types of tongue displacements. The formant profiles along with ultrasound images support the view that the production of the NH phonologically marked vowels is characteristic of pharyngealization.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Horo L, Sarmah P, GDS Anderson (2020)

Acoustic phonetic study of the Sora vowel system.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):3000.

This paper is an acoustic phonetic study of vowels in Sora, a Munda language of the Austroasiatic language family. Descriptions here illustrate that the Sora vowel system has six vowels and provide evidence that Sora disyllables have prominence on the second syllable. While the acoustic categorization of vowels is based on formant frequencies, the presence of prominence on the second syllable is shown through temporal features of vowels, including duration, intensity, and fundamental frequency. Additionally, this paper demonstrates that acoustic categorization of vowels in Sora is better in the prominent syllable than in the non-prominent syllable, providing evidence that syllable prominence and vowel quality are correlated in Sora. These acoustic properties of Sora vowels are discussed in relation to the existing debates on vowels and patterns of syllable prominence in Munda languages of India. In this regard, it is noteworthy that Munda languages, in general, lack instrumental studies, and therefore this paper presents significant findings that are undocumented in other Munda languages. These acoustic studies are supported by exploratory statistical modeling and statistical classification methods.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Sarvasy H, Elvin J, Li W, et al (2020)

An acoustic phonetic description of Nungon vowels.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2891.

This study is a comprehensive acoustic description and analysis of the six vowels /i e a u o ɔ/ in the Towet dialect of the Papuan language Nungon ⟨yuw⟩ of northeastern Papua New Guinea. Vowel tokens were extracted from a corpus of audio speech recordings created for general language documentation and grammatical description. To assess the phonetic correlates of a claimed phonological vowel length distinction, vowel duration was measured. Multi-point acoustic analyses enabled investigation of mean vowel F1, F2, and F3; vowel trajectories, and coarticulation effects. The three Nungon back vowels were of particular interest, as they contribute to an asymmetrical, back vowel-heavy array, and /o/ had previously been described as having an especially low F2. The authors found that duration of phonologically long and short vowels differed significantly. Mean vowel formant measurements confirmed that the six phonological vowels form six distinct acoustic groupings; trajectories show slightly more formant movement in some vowels than was previously known. Adjacent nasal consonants exerted significant effects on vowel formant measurements. The authors show that an uncontrolled, general documentation corpus for an under-described language can be mined for acoustic analysis, but coarticulation effects should be taken into account.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Nance C, S Kirkham (2020)

The acoustics of three-way lateral and nasal palatalisation contrasts in Scottish Gaelic.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2858.

This paper presents an acoustic description of laterals and nasals in an endangered minority language, Scottish Gaelic (known as "Gaelic"). Gaelic sonorants are reported to take part in a typologically unusual three-way palatalisation contrast. Here, the acoustic evidence for this contrast is considered, comparing lateral and nasal consonants in both word-initial and word-final position. Previous acoustic work has considered lateral consonants, but nasals are much less well-described. An acoustic analysis of twelve Gaelic-dominant speakers resident in a traditionally Gaelic-speaking community is reported. Sonorant quality is quantified via measurements of F2-F1 and F3-F2 and observation of the whole spectrum. Additionally, we quantify extensive devoicing in word-final laterals that has not been previously reported. Mixed-effects regression modelling suggests robust three-way acoustic differences in lateral consonants in all relevant vowel contexts. Nasal consonants, however, display lesser evidence of the three-way contrast in formant values and across the spectrum. Potential reasons for lesser evidence of contrast in the nasal system are discussed, including the nature of nasal acoustics, evidence from historical changes, and comparison to other Goidelic dialects. In doing so, contributions are made to accounts of the acoustics of the Celtic languages, and to typologies of contrastive palatalisation in the world's languages.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Tabain M, Butcher A, Breen G, et al (2020)

A formant study of the alveolar versus retroflex contrast in three Central Australian languages: Stop, nasal, and lateral manners of articulation.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(4):2745.

This study presents formant transition data from 21 speakers for the apical alveolar∼retroflex contrast in three neighbouring Central Australian languages: Arrernte, Pitjantjatjara, and Warlpiri. The contrast is examined for three manners of articulation: stop, nasal, and lateral /t ∼ ʈ/ /n ∼ ɳ/, and /l ∼ ɭ/, and three vowel contexts /a i u/. As expected, results show that a lower F3 and F4 in the preceding vowel signal a retroflex consonant; and that the alveolar∼retroflex contrast is most clearly realized in the context of an /a/ vowel, and least clearly realized in the context of an /i/ vowel. Results also show that the contrast is most clearly realized for the stop manner of articulation. These results provide an acoustic basis for the greater typological rarity of retroflex nasals and laterals as compared to stops. It is suggested that possible nasalization of the preceding vowel accounts for the poorer nasal consonant results, and that articulatory constraints on lateral consonant production account for the poorer lateral consonant results. Importantly, differences are noticed between speakers, and it is suggested that literacy plays a major role in maintenance of this marginal phonemic contrast.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Liepins R, Kaider A, Honeder C, et al (2020)

Formant frequency discrimination with a fine structure sound coding strategy for cochlear implants.

Hearing research, 392:107970.

Recent sound coding strategies for cochlear implants (CI) have focused on the transmission of temporal fine structure to the CI recipient. To date, knowledge about the effects of fine structure coding in electrical hearing is poorly charactarized. The aim of this study was to examine whether the presence of temporal fine structure coding affects how the CI recipient perceives sound. This was done by comparing two sound coding strategies with different temporal fine structure coverage in a longitudinal cross-over setting. The more recent FS4 coding strategy provides fine structure coding on typically four apical stimulation channels compared to FSP with usually one or two fine structure channels. 34 adult CI patients with a minimum CI experience of one year were included. All subjects were fitted according to clinical routine and used both coding strategies for three months in a randomized sequence. Formant frequency discrimination thresholds (FFDT) were measured to assess the ability to resolve timbre information. Further outcome measures included a monosyllables test in quiet and the speech reception threshold of an adaptive matrix sentence test in noise (Oldenburger sentence test). In addition, the subjective sound quality was assessed using visual analogue scales and a sound quality questionnaire after each three months period. The extended fine structure range of FS4 yields FFDT similar to FSP for formants occurring in the frequency range only covered by FS4. There is a significant interaction (p = 0.048) between the extent of fine structure coverage in FSP and the improvement in FFDT in favour of FS4 for these stimuli. FS4 Speech perception in noise and quiet was similar with both coding strategies. Sound quality was rated heterogeneously showing that both strategies represent valuable options for CI fitting to allow for best possible individual optimization.

RevDate: 2020-09-03

Toyoda A, Maruhashi T, Malaivijitnond S, et al (2020)

Dominance status and copulatory vocalizations among male stump-tailed macaques in Thailand.

Primates; journal of primatology, 61(5):685-694.

Male copulation calls sometimes play important roles in sexual strategies, attracting conspecific females or advertising their social status to conspecific males. These calls generally occur in sexually competitive societies such as harem groups and multi-male and multi-female societies. However, the call functions remain unclear because of limited availability of data sets that include a large number of male and female animals in naturalistic environments, particularly in primates. Here, we examined the possible function of male-specific copulation calls in wild stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides) by analyzing the contexts and acoustic features of vocalizations. We observed 395 wild stump-tailed macaques inhabiting the Khao Krapuk Khao Taomor Non-Hunting Area in Thailand and recorded all occurrences of observed copulations. We counted 446 male-specific calls in 383 copulations recorded, and measured their acoustic characteristics. Data were categorized into three groups depending on their social status: dominant (alpha and coalition) males and non-dominant males. When comparing male status, alpha males most frequently produced copulation calls at ejaculation, coalition males produced less frequent calls than alpha males, and other non-dominant males rarely vocalized, maintaining silence even when mounting females. Acoustic analysis indicated no significant influence of status (alpha or coalition) on call number, bout duration, or further formant dispersion parameters. Our results suggest that male copulation calls of this species are social status-dependent signals. Furthermore, dominant males might actively transmit their social status and copulations to other male rivals to impede their challenging attacks, while other non-dominant males maintain silence to prevent the interference of dominants.

RevDate: 2020-04-28

Saldías M, Laukkanen AM, Guzmán M, et al (2020)

The Vocal Tract in Loud Twang-Like Singing While Producing High and Low Pitches.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30057-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Twang-like vocal qualities have been related to a megaphone-like shape of the vocal tract (epilaryngeal tube and pharyngeal narrowing, and a wider mouth opening), low-frequency spectral changes, and tighter and/or increased vocal fold adduction. Previous studies have focused mainly on loud and high-pitched singing, comfortable low-pitched spoken vowels, or are based on modeling and simulation. There is no data available related to twang-like voices in loud, low-pitched singing.

PURPOSE: This study investigates the possible contribution of the lower and upper vocal tract configurations during loud twang-like singing on high and low pitches in a real subject.

METHODS: One male contemporary commercial music singer produced a sustained vowel [a:] in his habitual speaking pitch (B2) and loudness. The same vowel was also produced in a loud twang-like singing voice on high (G4) and low pitches (B2). Computerized tomography, acoustic analysis, inverse filtering, and audio-perceptual assessments were performed.

RESULTS: Both loud twang-like voices showed a megaphone-like shape of the vocal tract, being more notable on the low pitch. Also, low-frequency spectral changes, a peak of sound energy around 3 kHz and increased vocal fold adduction were found. Results agreed with audio-perceptual evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS: Loud twang-like phonation seems to be mainly related to low-frequency spectral changes (under 2 kHz) and a more compact formant structure. Twang-like qualities seem to require different degrees of twang-related vocal tract adjustments while phonating in different pitches. A wider mouth opening, pharyngeal constriction, and epilaryngeal tube narrowing may be helpful strategies for maximum power transfer and improved vocal economy in loud contemporary commercial music singing and potentially in loud speech. Further studies should focus on vocal efficiency and vocal economy measurements using modeling and simulation, based on real-singers' data.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Yaralı M (2020)

Varying effect of noise on sound onset and acoustic change evoked auditory cortical N1 responses evoked by a vowel-vowel stimulus.

International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, 152:36-43.

INTRODUCTION: According to previous studies noise causes prolonged latencies and decreased amplitudes in acoustic change evoked cortical responses. Particularly for a consonant-vowel stimulus, speech shaped noise leads to more pronounced changes on onset evoked response than acoustic change evoked response. Reasoning that this may be related to the spectral characteristics of the stimuli and the noise, in the current study a vowel-vowel stimulus (/ui/) was presented in white noise during cortical response recordings. The hypothesis is that the effect of noise will be higher on acoustic change N1 compared to onset N1 due to the masking effects on formant transitions.

METHODS: Onset and acoustic change evoked auditory cortical N1-P2 responses were obtained from 21 young adults with normal hearing while presenting 1000 ms /ui/ stimuli in quiet and in white noise at +10 dB and 0 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

RESULTS: In the quiet and +10 dB SNR conditions, the N1-P2 responses to both onset and change were present. In the +10 dB SNR condition acoustic change N1-P2 peak-to-peak amplitudes were reduced and N1 latencies were prolonged compared to the quiet condition. Whereas there was not a significant change in onset N1 latencies and N1-P2 peak-to-peak amplitudes in the +10 dB SNR condition. In the 0 dB SNR condition change responses were not observed but onset N1-P2 peak-to-peak amplitudes were significantly lower, and onset N1 latencies were significantly higher compared to the quiet and the 10 dB SNR conditions. Onset and change responses were also compared with each other in each condition. N1 latencies and N1-P2 peak to peak amplitudes of onset and acoustic change were not significantly different in the quiet condition. Whereas at 10 dB SNR, acoustic change N1 latencies were higher and N1-P2 amplitudes were lower than onset latencies and amplitudes. To summarize, presentation of white noise at 10 dB SNR resulted in the reduction of acoustic change evoked N1-P2 peak-to-peak amplitudes and the prolongation of N1 latencies compared to quiet. Same effect on onsets were only observed at 0 dB SNR, where acoustic change N1 was not observed. In the quiet condition, latencies and amplitudes of onsets and changes were not different. Whereas at 10 dB SNR, acoustic change N1 latencies were higher, amplitudes were lower than onset N1.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: The effect of noise was found to be higher on acoustic change evoked N1 response compared to onset N1. This may be related to the spectral characteristics of the utilized noise and the stimuli, possible differences in acoustic features of sound onsets and acoustic changes, or to the possible differences in the mechanisms for detecting acoustic changes and sound onsets. In order to investigate the possible reasons for more pronounced effect of noise on acoustic changes, future work with different vowel-vowel transitions in different noise types is suggested.

RevDate: 2020-04-04

Tykalova T, Skrabal D, Boril T, et al (2020)

Effect of Ageing on Acoustic Characteristics of Voice Pitch and Formants in Czech Vowels.

Journal of voice : official journal of the Voice Foundation pii:S0892-1997(20)30086-2 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The relevance of formant-based measures has been noted across a spectrum of medical, technical, and linguistic applications. Therefore, the primary aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of ageing on vowel articulation, as the previous research revealed contradictory findings. The secondary aim was to provide normative acoustic data for all Czech monophthongs.

METHODS: The database consisted of 100 healthy speakers (50 men and 50 women) aged between 20 and 90. Acoustic characteristics, including vowel duration, vowel space area (VSA), fundamental frequency (fo), and the first to fourth formant frequencies (F1-F4) of 10 Czech vowels were extracted from a reading passage. In addition, the articulation rate was calculated from the entire duration of the reading passage.

RESULTS: Age-related changes in pitch were sex-dependent, while age-related alterations in F2/a/, F2/u/, VSA, and vowel duration seemed to be sex-independent. In particular, we observed a clear lowering of fo with age for women, but no change for men. With regard to formants, we found lowering of F2/a/ and F2/u/ with increased age, but no statistically significant changes in F1, F3, or F4 frequencies with advanced age. Although the alterations in F1 and F2 frequencies were rather small, they appeared to be in a direction against vowel centralization, resulting in a significantly greater VSA in the older population. The greater VSA was found to be related partly to longer vowel duration.

CONCLUSIONS: Alterations in vowel formant frequencies across several decades of adult life appear to be small or in a direction against vowel centralization, thus indicating the good preservation of articulatory precision in older speakers.

RevDate: 2020-10-24

Milenkovic PH, Wagner M, Kent RD, et al (2020)

Effects of sampling rate and type of anti-aliasing filter on linear-predictive estimates of formant frequencies in men, women, and children.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(3):EL221.

The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of downsampling the acoustic signal on the accuracy of linear-predictive (LPC) formant estimation. Based on speech produced by men, women, and children, the first four formant frequencies were estimated at sampling rates of 48, 16, and 10 kHz using different anti-alias filtering. With proper selection of number of LPC coefficients, anti-alias filter and between-frame averaging, results suggest that accuracy is not improved by rates substantially below 48 kHz. Any downsampling should not go below 16 kHz with a filter cut-off centered at 8 kHz.

RevDate: 2020-06-22
CmpDate: 2020-06-22

Deloche F (2020)

Fine-grained statistical structure of speech.

PloS one, 15(3):e0230233.

In spite of its acoustic diversity, the speech signal presents statistical regularities that can be exploited by biological or artificial systems for efficient coding. Independent Component Analysis (ICA) revealed that on small time scales (∼ 10 ms), the overall structure of speech is well captured by a time-frequency representation whose frequency selectivity follows the same power law in the high frequency range 1-8 kHz as cochlear frequency selectivity in mammals. Variations in the power-law exponent, i.e. different time-frequency trade-offs, have been shown to provide additional adaptation to phonetic categories. Here, we adopt a parametric approach to investigate the variations of the exponent at a finer level of speech. The estimation procedure is based on a measure that reflects the sparsity of decompositions in a set of Gabor dictionaries whose atoms are Gaussian-modulated sinusoids. We examine the variations of the exponent associated with the best decomposition, first at the level of phonemes, then at an intra-phonemic level. We show that this analysis offers a rich interpretation of the fine-grained statistical structure of speech, and that the exponent values can be related to key acoustic properties. Two main results are: i) for plosives, the exponent is lowered by the release bursts, concealing higher values during the opening phases; ii) for vowels, the exponent is bound to formant bandwidths and decreases with the degree of acoustic radiation at the lips. This work further suggests that an efficient coding strategy is to reduce frequency selectivity with sound intensity level, congruent with the nonlinear behavior of cochlear filtering.

RevDate: 2020-08-05

Hardy TLD, Boliek CA, Aalto D, et al (2020)

Contributions of Voice and Nonverbal Communication to Perceived Masculinity-Femininity for Cisgender and Transgender Communicators.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(4):931-947.

Purpose The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to identify a set of communication-based predictors (including both acoustic and gestural variables) of masculinity-femininity ratings and (b) to explore differences in ratings between audio and audiovisual presentation modes for transgender and cisgender communicators. Method The voices and gestures of a group of cisgender men and women (n = 10 of each) and transgender women (n = 20) communicators were recorded while they recounted the story of a cartoon using acoustic and motion capture recording systems. A total of 17 acoustic and gestural variables were measured from these recordings. A group of observers (n = 20) rated each communicator's masculinity-femininity based on 30- to 45-s samples of the cartoon description presented in three modes: audio, visual, and audio visual. Visual and audiovisual stimuli contained point light displays standardized for size. Ratings were made using a direct magnitude estimation scale without modulus. Communication-based predictors of masculinity-femininity ratings were identified using multiple regression, and analysis of variance was used to determine the effect of presentation mode on perceptual ratings. Results Fundamental frequency, average vowel formant, and sound pressure level were identified as significant predictors of masculinity-femininity ratings for these communicators. Communicators were rated significantly more feminine in the audio than the audiovisual mode and unreliably in the visual-only mode. Conclusions Both study purposes were met. Results support continued emphasis on fundamental frequency and vocal tract resonance in voice and communication modification training with transgender individuals and provide evidence for the potential benefit of modifying sound pressure level, especially when a masculine presentation is desired.

RevDate: 2020-08-05

Carl M, Kent RD, Levy ES, et al (2020)

Vowel Acoustics and Speech Intelligibility in Young Adults With Down Syndrome.

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 63(3):674-687.

Purpose Speech production deficits and reduced intelligibility are frequently noted in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and are attributed to a combination of several factors. This study reports acoustic data on vowel production in young adults with DS and relates these findings to perceptual analysis of speech intelligibility. Method Participants were eight young adults with DS as well as eight age- and gender-matched typically developing (TD) controls. Several different acoustic measures of vowel centralization and variability were applied to tokens of corner vowels (/ɑ/, /æ/, /i/, /u/) produced in common English words. Intelligibility was assessed for single-word productions of speakers with DS, by means of transcriptions from 14 adult listeners. Results Group differentiation was found for some, but not all, of the acoustic measures. Low vowels were more acoustically centralized and variable in speakers with DS than TD controls. Acoustic findings were associated with overall intelligibility scores. Vowel formant dispersion was the most sensitive measure in distinguishing DS and TD formant data. Conclusion Corner vowels are differentially affected in speakers with DS. The acoustic characterization of vowel production and its association with speech intelligibility scores within the DS group support the conclusion of motor control deficits in the overall speech impairment. Implications are discussed for effective treatment planning.

RevDate: 2020-07-02

Zhang T, Shao Y, Wu Y, et al (2020)

Multiple Vowels Repair Based on Pitch Extraction and Line Spectrum Pair Feature for Voice Disorder.

IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics, 24(7):1940-1951.

Individuals, such as voice-related professionals, elderly people and smokers, are increasingly suffering from voice disorder, which implies the importance of pathological voice repair. Previous work on pathological voice repair only concerned about sustained vowel /a/, but multiple vowels repair is still challenging due to the unstable extraction of pitch and the unsatisfactory reconstruction of formant. In this paper, a multiple vowels repair based on pitch extraction and Line Spectrum Pair feature for voice disorder is proposed, which broadened the research subjects of voice repair from only single vowel /a/ to multiple vowels /a/, /i/ and /u/ and achieved the repair of these vowels successfully. Considering deep neural network as a classifier, a voice recognition is performed to classify the normal and pathological voices. Wavelet Transform and Hilbert-Huang Transform are applied for pitch extraction. Based on Line Spectrum Pair (LSP) feature, the formant is reconstructed. The final repaired voice is obtained by synthesizing the pitch and the formant. The proposed method is validated on Saarbrücken Voice Database (SVD) database. The achieved improvements of three metrics, Segmental Signal-to-Noise Ratio, LSP distance measure and Mel cepstral distance measure, are respectively 45.87%, 50.37% and 15.56%. Besides, an intuitive analysis based on spectrogram has been done and a prominent repair effect has been achieved.

RevDate: 2020-08-21

Allison KM, Salehi S, JR Green (2020)

Effect of prosodic manipulation on articulatory kinematics and second formant trajectories in children.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(2):769.

This study investigated effects of rate reduction and emphatic stress cues on second formant (F2) trajectories and articulatory movements during diphthong production in 11 typically developing school-aged children. F2 extent increased in slow and emphatic stress conditions, and tongue and jaw displacement increased in the emphatic stress condition compared to habitual speech. Tongue displacement significantly predicted F2 extent across speaking conditions. Results suggest that slow rate and emphatic stress cues induce articulatory and acoustic changes in children that may enhance clarity of the acoustic signal. Potential clinical implications for improving speech in children with dysarthria are discussed.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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