Publications by authors named "Olli Aaltonen"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The development and evaluation of the Finnish Matrix Sentence Test for speech intelligibility assessment.

Acta Otolaryngol 2014 Jul 7;134(7):728-37. Epub 2014 May 7.

Kuopio University Hospital, Department of Otorhinolaryngology , Kuopio , Finland.

Conclusion: The Finnish Matrix Test is the first sentence test in noise for the Finnish language. It was developed according to the HearCom standards and provides reliable speech intelligibility measurements with highly comparable results with the other international matrix tests.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to develop an accurate speech intelligibility test in noise for the Finnish language that is comparable across different languages.

Methods: We chose a matrix sentence test, which comprises a base matrix of 10 names, verbs, numerals, adjectives and nouns. Test lists were formed from this matrix quasi randomly, providing test sentences of the same syntactical structure. The speech material corresponds to everyday spoken language and the phoneme distribution is representative of the Finnish language. The test was optimized by determining the speech recognition thresholds of the individual words and subsequently by applying level corrections of up to ±3 dB. Evaluation measurements were performed to check the equivalence of the different test lists with respect to speech intelligibility and to provide reference values for further clinical applications.

Results: After training, the mean speech recognition threshold (SRT) and the slope of the final test lists were -10.1 ± 0.1 dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR)and 16.7 ± 1.2%/dB, respectively (measurements at constant level; inter-list variability). The mean SRT and the slope of the test subjects were -10.1 ± 0.7 dB SNR and 17.5 ± 2.2%/dB (measurements at constant level; inter-subject variability). The expected SRT range for normal-hearing young adults for adaptive measurements is -9.7 ± 0.7 dB SNR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/00016489.2014.898185DOI Listing
July 2014

Weighted vowel prototypes in Finnish and German.

J Acoust Soc Am 2014 Mar;135(3):1530-40

Institution of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland.

This study explores the perceptual vowel space of the Finnish and German languages, which have a similar vowel system with eight vowels, /ɑ/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/ /y/ /æ∼ε/ /ø/. Three different prototypicality measures are used for describing the internal structuring of the vowel categories in terms of the F1 and F2 formant frequencies: The arithmetic mean (centroid) of the F1-F2 space of the category (Pc), the absolute prototype of the category (Pa), and the weighted prototype of the category (Pω), in which the stimulus formant values are weighted by their goodness rating values. The study gave the following main results: (1) in both languages, the inter-subject differences were the smallest in Pω, and on the order of Difference Limen (DL) of F1-F2 frequencies for all of the three measures, (2) the Pa and Pω differed significantly from the centroid, with the absolute prototypes being the most peripheric, (3) the vowel systems of the two languages were similar (Euclidean distances in Pω of Finnish and German 7-34 mels) although minor differences were found in /e/, / ø/, and /u/, and (4) the mean difference of the prototypes from some earlier published production data was 100-150 mels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4864305DOI Listing
March 2014

Speaking a foreign language and its effect on F0.

Logoped Phoniatr Vocol 2013 Jul 21;38(2):47-51. Epub 2012 May 21.

University of Tampere, Voice Research laboratory , Tampere , Finland.

This study investigated whether speaking a foreign language affects the fundamental frequency (F0) of speech in 16 native Finnish and 14 native English subjects reading a text in Finnish and in English. The speech samples were analyzed for the mean and range of F0. Speaking a foreign language caused a change in F0 for the Finnish subjects, while the result was not as unambiguous for the English subjects. The change in F0 may be a result of adaptation to a certain pitch level in the foreign environment. Experience in using the foreign language did not show significant correlation to the change in F0, which suggests either individual differences in sensitivity to adaptation or difficulty in quantifying the amount of experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/14015439.2012.687764DOI Listing
July 2013

Task-dependent activations of human auditory cortex to prototypical and nonprototypical vowels.

Hum Brain Mapp 2013 Jun 30;34(6):1272-81. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Research in auditory neuroscience has largely neglected the possible effects of different listening tasks on activations of auditory cortex (AC). In the present study, we used high-resolution fMRI to compare human AC activations with sounds presented during three auditory and one visual task. In all tasks, subjects were presented with pairs of Finnish vowels, noise bursts with pitch and Gabor patches. In the vowel pairs, one vowel was always either a prototypical /i/ or /ae/ (separately defined for each subject) or a nonprototype. In different task blocks, subjects were either required to discriminate (same/different) vowel pairs, to rate vowel "goodness" (first/second sound was a better exemplar of the vowel class), to discriminate pitch changes in the noise bursts, or to discriminate Gabor orientation changes. We obtained distinctly different AC activation patterns to identical sounds presented during the four task conditions. In particular, direct comparisons between the vowel tasks revealed stronger activations during vowel discrimination in the anterior and posterior superior temporal gyrus (STG), while the vowel rating task was associated with increased activations in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). We also found that AC areas in or near Heschl's gyrus (HG) were sensitive to the speech-specific difference between a vowel prototype and nonprototype during active listening tasks. These results show that AC activations to speech sounds are strongly dependent on the listening tasks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.21506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6870198PMC
June 2013

Speech characteristics in neurofibromatosis type 1.

Am J Med Genet A 2010 Jan;152A(1):42-51

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a neurocutaneous-skeletal disorder often accompanied with varying degrees of cognitive and motor problems that potentially affect speech and language. While previous studies have shown that NF1 may be associated with a variety of deviations in the patients' speech, they have not investigated the characteristics in phonetic detail. Our clinical observation that many patients share a distinct voice and manner of speaking led to the primary aim of this study, which was to present a comprehensive description of speech in NF1. A total of 62 patients with NF1 (age range 7-66 years), and a control group of 24 speakers (age range 7-62 years) were evaluated for their speech. The test sessions were recorded and the data were analyzed both by ear and by acoustic measurements. The data were analyzed separately by two trained phoneticians, and a summary was produced after comparing the two independent analyses. Various speech problems were observed among patients with NF1. Individual variation was remarkable, but the deviations were more common and severe in children than in adult patients. In addition, men with NF1 had more speech deviations than women with NF1. Findings include deviations in voice quality, problems in regulating pitch, deviant nasality, misarticulation, and disfluency. We suggest that difficulties in speech, particularly in regulating pitch, may have negative social implications. Our results highlight which components of speech require particular attention in speech therapy for patients with NF1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.33178DOI Listing
January 2010

Brain responses reveal hardwired detection of native-language rule violations.

Neurosci Lett 2008 Oct 9;444(1):56-9. Epub 2008 Aug 9.

Department of Speech Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a neural correlate of the preattentive detection of any change in the acoustic characteristics of sounds. Here we provide evidence that violations of a purely phonological constraint in a listener's native language can also elicit the brain's automatic change-detection response. The MMN differed between Finnish and Estonian listeners, conditions being equal except for the native language of the listeners. We used two experimental conditions: synthetic vowels in isolation and the same vowels embedded in a pseudo-word context. MMN responses to isolated vowels were similar for Finns and Estonians, while the same vowels in a pseudoword context elicited different MMN patterns depending on the listener's mother tongue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2008.07.095DOI Listing
October 2008

The effect of language immersion education on the preattentive perception of native and non-native vowel contrasts.

J Psycholinguist Res 2007 Jan;36(1):15-23

Department of Phonetics, University of Turku, Assistentinkatu 7 (CCN, Publicum), Turku 20014, Finland.

Proficiency in a second language (L2) may depend upon the age of exposure and the continued use of the mother tongue (L1) during L2 acquisition. The effect of early L2 exposure on the preattentive perception of native and non-native vowel contrasts was studied by measuring the mismatch negativity (MMN) response from 14-year-old children. The test group consisted of six Finnish children who had participated in English immersion education. The control group consisted of eight monolingual Finns. The subjects were presented with Finnish and English synthetic vowel contrasts. The aim was to see whether early exposure had resulted in the development of a new language-specific memory trace for the contrast phonemically irrelevant in L1. The results indicated that only the contrast with the largest acoustic distance elicited an MMN response in the Bilingual group, while the Monolingual group showed a response also to the native contrast. This may suggest that native-like memory traces for prototypical vowels were not formed in early language immersion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10936-006-9030-yDOI Listing
January 2007

Acoustic comparison of vowel sounds produced before and after orthognathic surgery for mandibular advancement.

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2006 Jun;64(6):910-6

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Purpose: The effects of orthognathic surgery on the phonetic quality of speech were studied by analyzing the main acoustic features of vowel sounds.

Patients And Methods: Five men with dentofacial deformities undergoing surgical operation for correction of malocclusion were enrolled in the study. The speech material consisted of 8 vowels in sentence context. Every utterance was repeated 10 times in 3 different sessions: before the operation, 6 weeks after the operation, and 30 weeks after the operation. The acoustic features (F1, F2, F0, duration) of vowels were measured and analyzed.

Results: At the group level, no significant acoustic changes were found between the 3 different sessions in any parameter measured (all F values <1). The results show that the operation had individual and variable effects on vowel quality, ranging from slightly affected to completely unaffected. The 2 lowest vocal-tract resonances changed in frequency for 2 of the subjects, and 1 subject had short-term changes returning to the presurgical level. Significant changes of F0 were observed for 1 subject, and 3 of the subjects had short-term changes. No significant changes were found for duration. One subject had no significant changes in any parameter measured.

Conclusions: No long-lasting perceptually significant changes were identified in vowel production in patients undergoing a variety of orthognathic procedures. The facial skeleton (consisting of palate, maxilla, mandible, dentition, nasal cavity, etc) imposes direct limits on the morphology of the resonating vocal tract cavities, and is therefore of immediate relevance to both speech articulation and acoustics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joms.2006.02.009DOI Listing
June 2006

Early exposure to non-native language alters pre-attentive vowel discrimination.

Neurosci Lett 2005 Nov;388(3):121-5

Department of Phonetics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

The present study examined whether early exposure in language immersion would result in better pre-attentive discrimination of non-native speech sound contrasts. Mismatch negativity (MMN) responses were measured from two groups of Finnish children. The Monolingual group had no prior exposure to other languages than the native one, while the Immersion group consisted of children attending a French immersion program. The subjects were presented with two vowel contrasts in the oddball paradigm: the first pair was phonemic in the native language and the second was a within category pair in Finnish, but phonological in French. The results revealed that the Monolingual group showed a larger response to the native contrast in comparison with the non-native one, whereas both contrasts elicited a similar response in the Immersion group. These results suggest that early exposure to a new language enhances the pre-attentive discrimination ability reflected in increased MMN amplitude.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2005.06.037DOI Listing
November 2005

Effects of genioglossal muscle advancement on speech: an acoustic study of vowel sounds.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2005 Apr;132(4):636-40

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Turku University Central Hospital, Lemminkäisenkatu 2, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland.

Objective: The effects of the genioglossal muscle advancement on phonetic quality of speech were studied analyzing the acoustic features of vowel sounds.

Study Design And Setting: The study group consisted of 5 men suffering from partial upper airway obstruction during sleep. To prevent tongue base collapse, genioglossal muscle advancement was made with chin osteotomy without hyoid myotomy and suspension. The speech material consisted of 8 vowels produced in sentence context repeated 10 times before the operation, and 10 days and 6 weeks after the operation. The acoustic features of vowels were analyzed.

Results: The operation had no significant effects on vowel quality. Only for 2 of the subjects the pitches changed systematically due to the operation.

Conclusion: According to the acoustic analysis, genioglossal muscle advancement with chin osteotomy has no effects on vowel production. Some short-term changes were observed, but these changes were highly individual.

Significance: The operation seems to have no potential to change vowel production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.otohns.2004.09.091DOI Listing
April 2005

Effects of transitory lingual nerve impairment on speech: an acoustic study of diphthong sounds.

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2004 Jan;62(1):44-51

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Purpose: The effects of lingual nerve impairment on the phonetic quality of diphthongs were studied by analyzing changes in their main acoustic features when anesthetic was injected into the lingual nerve to partly block the normal neural feedback mechanisms in speech.

Patients And Methods: The speech material consisted of 8 diphthongs in word context produced by 7 male speakers. Every utterance was repeated 10 times using normal speech rate and intonation with and without the anesthesia (Ultracain D-Suprarenin, 0.8 mL; Aventis Pharma Deutscland GmpH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany). In addition, 1 male speaker with permanent nerve impairment was studied. The acoustic features (F1, F2, F0, and duration) were analyzed using Computerized Speech Laboratory (CSL 4300B; Kay Elemetrics, Lincoln Park, NJ).

Results: At the group level, no general significant acoustic changes were found between the 2 conditions. The changes were highly individual and variable across the subjects. Significant changes were observed for all the subjects, most prominently for the subject with permanent nerve impairment.

Conclusions: According to the results, lingual nerve impairment has effects on the production of diphthongs. A comparison between monophthongs and diphthongs showed that the alterations are more significant for the diphthongs than for other vowels indicating the more demanding, complicated, and complex manner of articulation of diphthongs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joms.2003.06.004DOI Listing
January 2004

Native and foreign vowel discrimination as indexed by the mismatch negativity (MMN) response.

Neurosci Lett 2003 Nov;352(1):25-8

Department of Phonetics, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland.

The development of a new vowel category was studied by measuring both automatic mismatch negativity and conscious behavioural target discrimination. Three groups, nai;ve Finns, advanced Finnish students of English, and native speakers of English, were presented with one pair of Finnish and three pairs of English synthetic vowels. The aim was to determine whether the advanced student group would show native-like responses to the unfamiliar vowel contrasts of the target language. The results suggest that learning in classroom environment may not lead to the formation of new long-term native-like memory traces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2003.08.013DOI Listing
November 2003

The mismatch negativity and reaction time as indices of the perceptual distance between the corresponding vowels of two related languages.

Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 2003 Apr;16(2):250-6

Department of Phonetics (Juslenia), University of Turku, FIN-20014, Turku, Finland.

Two experiments were conducted to determine whether vowel familiarity affects automatic and conscious vowel discrimination. Familiar (Finnish) and unfamiliar (Komi) vowels were presented to Finnish subjects. The good representatives of Finnish and Komi mid vowels were grouped into three pairs: front /e- epsilon /, central /ø-oe/, and back /o-o/. The acoustic difference for /e- epsilon / and /o-o/ was smaller than that for /ø-oe/. For /e- epsilon /, the Komi vowel / epsilon / was at the boundary between the Finnish /e/ and /ae/. The stimuli were presented in an oddball paradigm. In three different blocks, each Komi vowel in turn served as the standard (probability 0.86) and the corresponding Finnish vowel as the deviant stimulus (probability 0.14), and vice versa. In Experiment 1, subjects were instructed to press a button as soon as they detected a deviant stimulus. In Experiment 2, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded to these stimuli in order to use the mismatch negativity (MMN) as an index of the perceptual distance between the members of each vowel pair, while subjects did not attend to the stimuli. There were similar effects of the acoustic distance within a vowel pair for both the reaction time (RT) and the MMN amplitude; the RT decreased and the MMN amplitude increased when the acoustic difference between the stimuli increased. However, the RT was longer when the Komi / epsilon / was the standard and the Finnish /e/ was the deviant than vice versa. No such pattern was found for the MMN. Thus, the phonemic status of the standard stimulus seems to play a role at the attentive but not at the pre-attentive level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0926-6410(02)00280-xDOI Listing
April 2003

Stability of memory traces for speech sounds in cochlear implant patients.

Logoped Phoniatr Vocol 2002 ;27(3):132-8

Department of Audiology, Turku University Hospital, Kiinamyllynkatu 3, 20100 Turku, Finland.

For this study, we examined the perception and production of vowels by postlingually deafened patients with cochlear implant. Four patients and one normally hearing subject produced typical vowel sounds of Finnish by using a speech synthesizer. Also acoustic analyses of the pronounced vowels were made. The first (F1) and the second (F2) formant frequencies were measured. The mismatch negativity (MMN), a cortical cognitive auditory event related potential, was used to measure objectively the patients' preattentive discrimination of a prototypical /i/ sound from deviants differing in the F2 continuum. In the phonetic tests the hyperspace effect was seen also among the patients. The MMN, which reflects the phonetic discrimination ability, could be identified from the patient with the best vowel perception abilities. The phonetic memory traces once developed for vowels seem to remain quite stable even though they have not been activated by vowel information for years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/140154302760834868DOI Listing
April 2003

Effects of transitory lingual nerve impairment on speech: an acoustic study of vowel sounds.

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2002 Jun;60(6):647-52; discussion 653

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of the lingual nerve impairment on phonetic quality of speech by analyzing the main acoustic features of vowel sounds when the normal lingual nerve function was partly distorted by local anesthesia.

Patients And Methods: The study group consisted of 7 men, whose right side lingual nerve was anesthetized with 0.8 mL of Ultracaine D-Suprarenin (Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmpH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany). The speech material analyzed consisted of 8 vowels produced in sentence context by speakers. Every utterance was repeated 10 times with and without local anesthesia. After recording, the speech samples were analyzed with a computerized speech laboratory. In addition, the vowels of 1 man with permanent nerve impairment were studied.

Results: The results show that the deprived function of the tongue after lingual nerve impairment had various effects on vowel quality for every subject. The main acoustic determinants of different vowels, the lowest vocal tract resonances, changed in frequency. In addition, the total duration of vowels changed and the vowels had different fundamental frequencies. However, these effects were extremely individual and variable.

Conclusions: According to the results of acoustic analysis, the distortion of lingual nerve function has effects on vowel production. Some of these changes were so extensive that they also could be perceptually detectable. Lingual nerve impairment seems to have potential to change speech production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/joms.2002.33113DOI Listing
June 2002
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