Blog Archives

Prosodic Adaptations to Pitch Perturbation in Running Speech

Conclusions: Present findings suggest that F0 and intensity are controlled in an integrated fashion to maintain the contrast between stressed and unstressed words. When a cue is impaired through perturbation, speakers not only oppose the perturbation but enhance other prosodic cues to achieve emphatic stress.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Acoustic Characteristics of Vowels by Normal Malaysian Malay Young Adults

The acoustic characteristics of sustained vowel have been widely investigated across various languages and ethnic groups. These acoustic measures, including fundamental frequency (F0), jitter (Jitt), relative average perturbation (RAP), five-point period perturbation quotient (PPQ5), shimmer (Shim), and 11-point amplitude perturbation quotient (APQ11) are not well established for Malaysian Malay young adults. This article studies the acoustic measures of Malaysian Malay adults using acoustical analysis. The study analyzed six sustained Malay vowels of 60 normal native Malaysian Malay adults with a mean of 21.19 years. The F0 values of Malaysian Malay males and females were reported as 134.85 ± 18.54 and 238.27 ± 24.06 Hz, respectively. Malaysian Malay females had significantly higher F0 than that of males for all the vowels. However, no significant differences were observed between the genders for the perturbation measures in all the vowels, except RAP in /e/. No significant F0 differences between the vowels were observed. Significant differences between the vowels were reported for all perturbation measures in Malaysian Malay males. As for Malaysian Malay females, significant differences between the vowels were reported for Shim and APQ11. Multiethnic comparisons indicate that F0 varies between Malaysian Malay and other ethnic groups. However, the perturbation measures cannot be directly compared, where the measures vary significantly across different speech analysis softwares.

from the Journal of Voice

Vocal Fundamental Frequency and Perturbation Measurements of Vowels by Normal Malaysian Chinese Adults

The acoustic properties of vowel phonation vary across cultures. These specific characteristics, including vowel fundamental frequency (F0) and perturbation measures (Absolute Jitter [Jita], Jitter [Jitt], Relative Average Perturbation [RAP], five-point Period Perturbation Quotient [PPQ5], Absolute Shimmer [ShdB], Shimmer [Shim], and 11-point Amplitude Perturbation Quotient [APQ11]) are not well established for Malaysian Chinese adults. This article investigates the F0 and perturbation measurements of sustained vowels in 60 normal Malaysian Chinese adults using acoustical analysis. Malaysian Chinese females had significantly higher F0 than Malaysian males in all six vowels. However, there were no significant differences in F0 across the vowels for each gender. Significant differences between vowels were observed for Jita, Jitt, PPQ5, ShdB, Shim, and APQ11 among Chinese males, whereas significant differences between vowels were observed for all the perturbation parameters among Chinese females. Chinese males had significantly higher Jita and APQ11 in the vowels than Chinese females, whereas no significant differences were observed between males and females for Jitt, RAP, PPQ5, and Shim. Cross-ethnic comparisons indicate that F0 of vowel phonation varies within the Chinese ethnic group and across other ethnic groups. The perturbation measures cannot be simply compared, where the measures may vary significantly across different speech analysis softwares.

from the Journal of Voice

The Impact of Vocal Hyperfunction on Relative Fundamental Frequency During Voicing Offset and Onset

Conclusions: Altered offset and onset RFF in patients with hyperfunction-related voice disorders can be interpreted as a by-product of heightened levels of laryngeal muscle tension. Measurement of RFF during voice offset and onset has potential for use as a simple, noninvasive measure of vocal hyperfunction.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Variations in Intensity, Fundamental Frequency, and Voicing for Teachers in Occupational Versus Nonoccupational Settings

Conclusions: Data regarding voicing percentages, F0, and dB SPL provide critical insight into teachers’ vocal health. Further, because nonoccupational voice use is added to an already overloaded voice, it may add key insights into recovery patterns and should be the focus of future studies.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Reliable Jitter and Shimmer Measurements in Voice Clinics: The Relevance of Vowel, Gender, Vocal Intensity, and Fundamental Frequency Effects in a Typical Clinical Task

The aims of this study were to examine vowel and gender effects on jitter and shimmer in a typical clinical voice task while correcting for the confounding effects of voice sound pressure level (SPL) and fundamental frequency (F0). Furthermore the relative effect sizes of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 were assessed, and recommendations for clinical measurements were derived. With this cross-sectional single cohort study, 57 healthy adults (28 women, 29 men) aged 20–40 years were investigated. Three phonations of /a/, /o/, and /i/ at “normal” voice loudness were analyzed using Praat (software). The effects of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 on jitter and shimmer were assessed using descriptive and inferential (analysis of covariance) statistics. The effect sizes were determined with the eta-squared statistic. Vowels, gender, voice SPL, and F0, each had significant effects either on jitter or on shimmer, or both. Voice SPL was the most important factor, whereas vowel, gender, and F0 effects were comparatively small. Because men had systematically higher voice SPL, the gender effects on jitter and shimmer were smaller when correcting for SPL and F0. Surprisingly, in clinical assessments, voice SPL has the single biggest impact on jitter and shimmer. Vowel and gender effects were clinically important, whereas fundamental frequency had a relatively small influence. Phonations at a predefined voice SPL (80 dB minimum) and vowel (/a/) would enhance measurement reliability. Furthermore, gender-specific thresholds applying these guidelines should be established. However, the efficiency of these measures should be verified and tested with patients.

from the Journal of Voice

ro_utddb1202

Reliable Jitter and Shimmer Measurements in Voice Clinics: The Relevance of Vowel, Gender, Vocal Intensity, and Fundamental Frequency Effects in a Typical Clinical Task

The aims of this study were to examine vowel and gender effects on jitter and shimmer in a typical clinical voice task while correcting for the confounding effects of voice sound pressure level (SPL) and fundamental frequency (F0). Furthermore the relative effect sizes of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 were assessed, and recommendations for clinical measurements were derived. With this cross-sectional single cohort study, 57 healthy adults (28 women, 29 men) aged 20–40 years were investigated. Three phonations of /a/, /o/, and /i/ at “normal” voice loudness were analyzed using Praat (software). The effects of vowel, gender, voice SPL, and F0 on jitter and shimmer were assessed using descriptive and inferential (analysis of covariance) statistics. The effect sizes were determined with the eta-squared statistic. Vowels, gender, voice SPL, and F0, each had significant effects either on jitter or on shimmer, or both. Voice SPL was the most important factor, whereas vowel, gender, and F0 effects were comparatively small. Because men had systematically higher voice SPL, the gender effects on jitter and shimmer were smaller when correcting for SPL and F0. Surprisingly, in clinical assessments, voice SPL has the single biggest impact on jitter and shimmer. Vowel and gender effects were clinically important, whereas fundamental frequency had a relatively small influence. Phonations at a predefined voice SPL (80 dB minimum) and vowel (/a/) would enhance measurement reliability. Furthermore, gender-specific thresholds applying these guidelines should be established. However, the efficiency of these measures should be verified and tested with patients.

from the Journal of Voice

ro_utddb1202

Observations of the Relationship Between Noise Exposure and Preschool Teacher Voice Usage in Day-Care Center Environments

Although the relationship between noise exposure and vocal behavior (the Lombard effect) is well established, actual vocal behavior in the workplace is still relatively unexamined. The first purpose of this study was to investigate correlations between noise level and both voice level and voice average fundamental frequency (F0) for a population of preschool teachers in their normal workplace. The second purpose was to study the vocal behavior of each teacher to investigate whether individual vocal behaviors or certain patterns could be identified. Voice and noise data were obtained for female preschool teachers (n = 13) in their workplace, using wearable measurement equipment. Correlations between noise level and voice level, and between voice level and F0, were calculated for each participant and ranged from 0.07 to 0.87 for voice level and from 0.11 to 0.78 for F0. The large spread of the correlation coefficients indicates that the teachers react individually to the noise exposure. For example, some teachers increase their voice-to-noise level ratio when the noise is reduced, whereas others do not.

from the Journal of Voice

Beta-Adrenergic Blockade and Voice: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

This study investigated the effects of laboratory-induced stress and beta-adrenergic blockade on acoustic and aerodynamic voice measures. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 12 participants, six males and six females, underwent cold pressor-induced sympathetic activation followed by placebo or treatment with 40 mg propranolol. Aerodynamic and acoustic parameters of voice were collected at baseline, during cold pressor and after treatment with propranolol or placebo. Fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer, maximum airflow declination rate, voice onset time, speaking rate, and subglottal pressure were measured at baseline, during cold pressor-induced stress, and after treatment with propranolol or placebo. Cardiovascular measures served as indicators of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation by cold pressor and antagonism by propranolol, and were collected during all conditions. Cold pressor appeared to adequately agonize the SNS as indicated by significant increases in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Propranolol appeared to adequately antagonize the SNS for the participants. Jitter ratio demonstrated a statistically significant increase in the participants treated with propranolol. Speaking rate demonstrated a small but significant increase in the placebo control group during cold pressor. Gender differences were observed in a few measures. Cold pressor adequately agonized and propranolol adequately antagonized the SNS. No statistically significant differences across subjects were observed in the voice parameters during cold pressor-induced stress before treatment. Jitter ratio increased significantly during propranolol treatment and cold pressor. Speaking rate demonstrated a statistically significant increase during cold pressor in the placebo control group. Gender differences were observed, but were few.

from the Journal of Voice

Beta-Adrenergic Blockade and Voice: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

This study investigated the effects of laboratory-induced stress and beta-adrenergic blockade on acoustic and aerodynamic voice measures. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 12 participants, six males and six females, underwent cold pressor-induced sympathetic activation followed by placebo or treatment with 40 mg propranolol. Aerodynamic and acoustic parameters of voice were collected at baseline, during cold pressor and after treatment with propranolol or placebo. Fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer, maximum airflow declination rate, voice onset time, speaking rate, and subglottal pressure were measured at baseline, during cold pressor-induced stress, and after treatment with propranolol or placebo. Cardiovascular measures served as indicators of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation by cold pressor and antagonism by propranolol, and were collected during all conditions. Cold pressor appeared to adequately agonize the SNS as indicated by significant increases in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Propranolol appeared to adequately antagonize the SNS for the participants. Jitter ratio demonstrated a statistically significant increase in the participants treated with propranolol. Speaking rate demonstrated a small but significant increase in the placebo control group during cold pressor. Gender differences were observed in a few measures. Cold pressor adequately agonized and propranolol adequately antagonized the SNS. No statistically significant differences across subjects were observed in the voice parameters during cold pressor-induced stress before treatment. Jitter ratio increased significantly during propranolol treatment and cold pressor. Speaking rate demonstrated a statistically significant increase during cold pressor in the placebo control group. Gender differences were observed, but were few.

from the Journal of Voice

Unintended imitation in nonword repetition

Verbal repetition is conventionally considered to require motor-reproduction of only the phonologically relevant content of a perceived linguistic stimulus, while imitation of incidental acoustic properties of the stimulus is not an explicit part of this task. Exemplar-based theories of speech processing, however, would predict that imitation beyond linguistic reproduction may occur in word repetition. Five experiments were conducted in which verbal audio-motor translations had to be performed under different conditions. Nonwords varying in phonemic content, in vocal pitch (F0), and in speaking style (schwa-syllable expression) were presented. We experimentally varied the factors response delay (repetition vs. shadowing), intention-to-repeat (repetition vs. pseudo-naming), and phonological load (repetition vs. transformation). The responses of ten healthy participants were examined for phonemic accuracy and for traces of para-phonological imitation. Two aphasic patients with phonological impairments were also included, to find out if lesions to left anterior or posterior perisylvian cortex interfere with imitation.

In the healthy participants, significant imitation of both F0 and phonetic style was observed, with markedly stronger effects for the latter. Strong imitation was also found in an aphasic patient with a lesion to left anterior perisylvian cortex, whereas almost no imitation occurred in a patient with a lesion to the posterior language area. The degree of unintended imitation was modulated by each of the three independent factors introduced here. The results are discussed on the background of cognitive and neurolinguistic theories of imitation.

from the Journal of Voice

Pitch, Harmonicity and Concurrent Sound Segregation: Psychoacoustical and Neurophysiological Findings

Harmonic complex tones are a particularly important class of sounds found in both speech and music. Although these sounds contain multiple frequency components, they are usually perceived as a coherent whole, with a pitch corresponding to the fundamental frequency (F0). However, when two or more harmonic sounds occur concurrently, e.g., at a cocktail party or in a symphony, the auditory system must separate harmonics and assign them to their respective F0s so that a coherent and veridical representation of the different sounds sources is formed. Here we review both psychophysical and neurophysiological (single-unit and evoked-potential) findings, which provide some insight into how, and how well, the auditory system accomplishes this task. A survey of computational models designed to estimate multiple F0s and segregate concurrent sources is followed by a review of the empirical literature on the perception and neural coding of concurrent harmonic sounds, including vowels, as well as findings obtained using single complex tones with “mistuned” harmonics.

from Hearing Research

Fundamental frequency and speech intelligibility in background noise

Speech reception in noise is an especially difficult problem for listeners with hearing impairment as well as for users of cochlear implants (CIs). One likely cause of this is an inability to ‘glimpse’ a target talker in a fluctuating background, which has been linked to deficits in temporal fine-structure processing. A fine-structure cue that has the potential to be beneficial for speech reception in noise is fundamental frequency (F0). A challenging problem, however, is delivering the cue to these individuals. The benefits to speech intelligibility of F0 for both listeners with hearing impairment and users of CIs are reviewed, as well as various methods of delivering F0 to these listeners.

from Hearing Research

Fundamental Frequency of Neonatal Crying: Does Body Size Matter?

Summary
The objective of this study was to determine the influence of fetal growth on the fundamental frequency (F0) of neonatal crying in a group of healthy full-term infants. The spontaneous cries of 131 infants were audio recorded during the first week of life, and subsequently submitted to acoustic analyses. The individual cry utterances produced by each infant were measured for minimum, mean, and maximum F0. The infants were placed into one of three groupings (low, average, high) based on body size indices according to the ponderal index (PI), the ratio of body weight to body length (BW/L), and body weight (BW) alone. The F0 features of infants in each subgrouping of body size were compared and contrasted. The results indicated that features of cry F0 were found to decrease marginally as a function of increased body size, with significant group differences confined to maximum F0. The BW index appeared to be the most sensitive measure in differentiating infant groups according to body size. In general, neonatal body size appears to have a slight, although nonsignificant influence on the vocal F0 of crying in healthy full-term infants. Any body size-related changes in cry F0 are likely to be found for maximum F0 and may reflect stress-related variations in nervous system activation.

from the Journal of Voice

Mean F0 Values Obtained Through Standard Phrase Pronunciation Compared With Values Obtained From the Normal Work Environment: A Study on Teacher and Child Voices Performed in a Preschool Environment

Summary
Mean fundamental frequency (F0) values are often used in research on vocal load. In this study, we examine how the mean F0 differs when evaluated through pronouncing a standard phrase as compared to the mean F0 obtained in a real work/play environment. We also examine how the F0 values change throughout the day. The study was performed in a preschool, nine adult female preschool teachers and 11 children participated. The participants wore a digital recorder equipped with an accelerometer, which was attached to the neck. In the study, the participant first pronounced a standard phrase in a controlled environment; thereafter, the voice was recorded in the environment where both children and adults normally reside throughout the day, denoted by the work/play environment. For each participant, the procedure was repeated four times throughout the day. Analyses showed that the F0 values of the children’s and adult’s voices were significantly higher when recorded in the work/play environment as compared to the controlled environment. The average difference was 36 Hz for adults and 24 Hz for children. Previous studies have shown an increase of F0 over the day for teachers. In this study, an increase between morning and afternoon values was found amounting to 8 Hz for adults and 24 Hz for children. For the child population, this increase was statistically significant. However, the total changes over the day revealed a somewhat more complex scheme, with an increase of F0 in the morning, a decrease during lunch, and finally an increase in the afternoon. This pattern was verified statistically for the joint child-adult population.

from the Journal of Voice