Blog Archives

Developmental Sexual Dimorphism of the Oral and Pharyngeal Portions of the Vocal Tract: An Imaging Study

Conclusions: Assessment of developmental sex differences using localized age ranges is effective in unveiling sex differences that growth rate differences may conceal. Findings on the presence of prepubertal sex differences in the oral region of the VT may clarify, in part, the anatomic basis of documented prepubertal acoustic differences.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Detecting Inaudible Vocal Organ Changes Through Glottal Inverse Filtering

The aim of this study was to investigate if there were objective quantities extracted from the speech pressure waveforms that underlay inaudible changes in the symptoms of the vocal organ. This was done through analyzing 180 voice samples obtained from nine subjects (five females and four males) before and after exposure to a placebo substance (lactose) and an organic dust substance. Acoustical analysis of the voice samples was achieved by using glottal inverse filtering. Results showed that the values of primary open quotient and primary speed quotient changed significantly (P < 0.05) as did the amplitude quotient (P < 0.01). Exposure to lactose resulted in significant changes of secondary open quotient (P < 0.05) but opposite to effects found for exposure to organic dust. Modeling of the vocal tract into cross-sectional planes revealed that the immediate plane above the vocal folds correlates inversely with the feeling that voice is tense, or feeling the need to make an effort when speaking in addition having a feeling of shortness of breath or the need to gasp for air. Such results may point to acoustically detected subclinical changes in the vocal organ that the subject him/herself feels while they remain perceptually undetected by others.

from the Journal of Voice

The Effects of Humming and Pitch on Craniofacial and Craniocervical Morphology Measured Using MRI

Traditional voice research occurs within a phonetic context. Accordingly, pitch-related contributions are inseparable from those due to articulator input. In humming, articulator input is negligible. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we test the hypothesis that voice production is accompanied by pitch-related adjustments unrelated to articulatory or postural input.

from the Journal of Voice

Relationships Between Vocal Structures, the Airway, and Craniocervical Posture Investigated Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Finding widespread correlations relating vocal structures to the craniofacial skeleton and cervical spine confirms the potential of this approach to uncover functional activity during voice production and demonstrates the importance of considering vocal structures and the airway within this wider context if important information is not to be missed.

from the Journal of Voice

Standardization of Thresholding for Binary Conversion of Vocal Tract Modeling in Computed Tomography

Postoperative head and neck cancer patients suffer from speech disorders, which are the result of changes in their vocal tracts. Making a solid vocal tract model and measuring its transmission characteristics will provide one of the most useful tools to resolve the problem. In binary conversion of X-ray computed tomographic (CT) images for vocal tract reconstruction, nonobjective methods have been used by many researchers. We hypothesized that a standardized vocal tract model could be reconstructed by adopting the Hounsfield number of fat tissue as a criterion for thresholding of binary conversion, because its Hounsfield number is the nearest to air in the human body. The purpose of this study was to establish a new standardized method for binary conversion in reconstructing three-dimensional (3-D) vocal tract models. CT images for postoperative diagnosis were secondarily obtained from a CT scanner. Each patient’s minimum settings of Hounsfield number for the buccal fat-pad regions were measured. Thresholds were set every 50 Hounsfield units (HU) from the bottom line of the buccal fat-pad region to −1024 HU, the images were converted into binary values, and were evaluated according to the three-grade system based on anatomically defined criteria. The optimal threshold between tissue and air was determined by nonlinear multiple regression analyses. Each patient’s minimum settings of the buccal fat-pad regions were obtained. The optimal threshold was determined to be −165 HU from each patient’s minimum settings of the Hounsfield number for the buccal fat-pad regions. To conclude, a method of 3-D standardized vocal tract modeling was established.

from the Journal of Voice

Vocal tract and register changes analysed by real-time MRI in male professional singers—a pilot study

Changes of vocal tract shape accompanying changes of vocal register and pitch in singing have remained an unclear field. Dynamic real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was applied to two professional classical singers (a tenor and a baritone) in this pilot study. The singers sang ascending scales from B3 to G#4 on the vowel /a/, keeping the modal register throughout or shifting to falsetto register for the highest pitches. The results show that these singers made few and minor modifications of vocal tract shape when they changed from modal to falsetto and some clear modifications when they kept the register. In this case the baritone increased his tongue dorsum height, widened his jaw opening, and decreased his jaw protrusion, while the tenor merely lifted his uvula. The method used seems promising and should be applied to a greater number of singer subjects in the future.

from Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology