Publications by authors named "Pasquale Bottalico"

35 Publications

Singing in different performance spaces: The effect of room acoustics on vibrato and pitch inaccuracy.

J Acoust Soc Am 2022 06;151(6):4131

School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.

Previous literature suggests that musical performers may be influenced to some extent by the acoustic environment in which they sing or play. This study investigates the influence of room acoustics on singers' voice production, by analyzing consecutive sung performances of classically trained students in five different performance spaces. The analyzed voice parameters were vibrato rate, extent, and pitch inaccuracy. Nine classically trained student-singers performed the same aria unaccompanied on a variable starting pitch that was consistent between spaces. Variance in vibrato rate and pitch inaccuracy was primarily explained by individual differences between singers. Conversely, the variance attributable to the rooms for the parameter of vibrato extent was larger compared to the variance attributable to the performers. Vibrato extent tended to increase with room clarity (C80) and was inversely associated with early decay time (EDT). Additionally, pitch inaccuracy showed a significant negative association with room support (ST). Singers seem to adjust their vocal production when performing in different acoustic environments. Likewise, the degree to which a singer can hear themself on stage may influence pitch accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/10.0011675DOI Listing
June 2022

Lombard effect, intelligibility, ambient noise, and willingness to spend time and money in a restaurant amongst older adults.

Sci Rep 2022 04 21;12(1):6549. Epub 2022 Apr 21.

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, 901 S. 6th St., Urbana-Champaign, IL, 61820, USA.

Dining establishments are an essential part of the social experience. However, they are often characterized by high levels of background noise, which represents a barrier to effective communication. This particularly affects people suffering from hearing problems. Moreover, noise level exceeding normal conversational levels causes a phenomenon called the Lombard Effect, an involuntary tendency to increase the amount of vocal effort when talking in the presence of noise. Adults over 60 years represent the second largest population in the US and the majority of them suffer from some degree of hearing loss. The primary aim of the current study was to understand the effect of noise on vocal effort and speech intelligibility in a restaurant setting for adults over 60 years old with and without hearing loss. The secondary aim was to evaluate their perception of disturbance in communication and their willingness to spend time and money in a restaurant was affected by the varying levels of background noise. The results of this study showed background noise levels lower than 50 dB(A) will allow senior customers to minimize their vocal effort and to maximize their understanding of conversations, even for those with moderate to severe hearing loss. By setting a limit, it will also keep perceived disturbance low and willingness to spend time and money high among dining patrons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-10414-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9023576PMC
April 2022

Intelligibility of dysphonic speech in auralized classrooms.

J Acoust Soc Am 2021 10;150(4):2912

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA.

Voice disorders can reduce the speech intelligibility of affected speakers. This study evaluated the effect of noise, voice disorders, and room acoustics on vowel intelligibility, listening easiness, and the listener's reaction time. Three adult females with dysphonia and three adult females with normal voice quality recorded a series of nine vowels of American English in /h/-V-/d/ format (e.g., "had"). The recordings were convolved with two oral-binaural impulse responses acquired from measurements in two classrooms with 0.4 and 3.1 s of reverberation time, respectively. The stimuli were presented in a forced-choice format to 29 college students. The intelligibility and the listening easiness were significantly higher in quiet than in noisy conditions, when the speakers had normal voice quality compared to a dysphonic voice, and in low reverberated environments compared to high reverberated environments. The response time of the listener was significantly longer for speech presented in noisy conditions compared to quiet conditions and when the voice was dysphonic compared with healthy voice quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/10.0006741DOI Listing
October 2021

The Effect of Bilingualism on Production and Perception of Vocal Fry.

J Voice 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia.

Aims: (1) Determine the difference in vocal fry phonation in English and Spanish productions among bilingual young adults, (2) Characterize the effect of spoken language and native language on vocal fry production among English-Spanish bilingual speakers, (3) Identify the effect of first and second language knowledge of the listener in the voice perceptual assessment, and (4) Define the effect of the environment of the assessment (in situ vs. online), in the voice perceptual assessment.

Method: Exploratory cross-sectional study of 34 bilingual (Spanish-English) speakers and six inexperienced listeners. Participating speakers produced two speech samples (one in English and one in Spanish). Six inexperienced monolingual and bilingual listeners performed the voice perceptual assessment of vocal fry, General grade of hoarseness, and Roughness using a 4-point rating scale.

Results: Bilingual speakers used vocal fry more often when they were speaking in English (around 3%) compared with their production in Spanish (around 2%). Bilingual native English speakers used vocal fry more often during their productions in both languages compared with bilingual native Spanish speakers. Bilingual listeners had the highest agreement when identifying vocal fry in both languages.

Conclusions: Differences in production of vocal fry between native speakers of American English and native speakers of Spanish may be evidence of transferring of vocal behavior (such as vocal fry) from one language to the second one. In addition, being a bilingual listener may have an important effect on the perceptual identification of voice quality in English and Spanish, as well as vocal fry in English.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.06.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8770720PMC
July 2021

The Effects of Reading Speed on Acoustic Voice Parameters and Self-reported Vocal Fatigue in Students.

J Voice 2021 Jul 13. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois.

Introduction: Vocal loading tasks (VLTs) help researchers gather acoustic measurements and understand how a healthy speaker adjusts their voice in response to challenges. There is a dearth of evidence measuring the impact of speaking rate in VLTs on acoustic voice parameters and vocal fatigue.

Objectives: In the present study, the relationships between acoustic voice parameters and self-reported vocal fatigue were examined through an experimental VLT.

Methods: 38 students completed a 45-minute VLT which involved the recording of three randomized reading tasks. The tasks varied by the speed in which the words were presented (slow, medium, fast) on a computer monitor. Vocal fatigue ratings were measured subjectively using a Borg scale and negative adaptations to vocal loading were measured objectively using Sound Pressure Level (SPL, in dBA), fundamental frequency (f, in semitones), and phonation time (Dt %).

Results: Analysis indicated that vocal fatigue increases with time, and the slope of this relationship is affected by the speaking rate. SPL and f increased with speaking rate and the standard deviation of SPL and f decreased with speaking rate. On average, the male participants' phonation time values were 7.8% lower than the female participants. The rate of increase of vocal fatigue with time during the experiment was higher in the fast speaking style compared to the slow and medium ones.

Conclusion: The results provide support that the novel VLT altered multiple vocal parameters to induce measurable changes in vocal fatigue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.05.021DOI Listing
July 2021

Bilingualism and Voice Production. Differences Between Bilingual Latin-American Spanish- English Female Speakers and Monolingual Spanish Female Speakers During Spanish Productions.

J Voice 2021 Jun 10. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, Michigan.

Background: Speaking a second language influences jitter and shimmer when comparing monolingual English speakers with bilingual English-Spanish speakers. However, there is little information about differences on voice acoustic parameters when comparing monolingual Spanish speakers with bilingual Spanish-English speakers during their productions in Spanish.

Aim: Determine differences in five voice acoustic parameters commonly used in voice assessments (fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer, Harmonics-to-Noise Ratio and Cepstral Peak Prominence Smoothed) which may be influenced by bilingualism.

Methods: Exploratory cross-sectional study with two groups of female participants: monolingual Spanish speakers (n = 17), and bilingual Spanish-English speakers (n = 11). Participants filled out a questionnaire and recorded two voice samples (sustained vowel /a/ and reading). For this study, all the participants reported that their native language was Spanish.

Results: Being a female bilingual speaker had a significant effect on Shimmer (%) with a Beta = -0.7. Similar tendency was found on harmonics-to-noise ratio (B = 0.2) and cepstral peak prominence smoothed (B = 0.2).

Conclusions: Our results indicate that being a native Spanish female speaker, speaking English as a second language, has significant small effects on voice acoustic parameters, such as shimmer, harmonics-to-noise ratio and cepstral peak prominence smoothed, during their productions in Spanish. This information is of interest for assessment and intervention plans of bilingual speakers at clinical and work-related settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.04.026DOI Listing
June 2021

Acoustic-Perceptual Correlates of Voice Among Steam Train Engineers: Effects of Noise and Hearing Protection.

J Voice 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois.

Occupational voice users are at a higher risk for developing voice disorders due to their vocal demands, such as prolonged periods of work-related voice use and nonideal environmental factors, such as speaking above background noise. The current study focused on the effects of background noise and hearing protection on acoustic-perceptual correlates of voice among steam train engineers. Fourteen participants phonated vowel /a/, read a phrase, and described a map under different noise and hearing protection conditions. Relative sound pressure level, relative fundamental frequency, and perceived vocal effort and disturbance decreased in the presence of hearing protection for all noise conditions. In contrast, these acoustic measures increased in the absence of hearing protection supporting Lombard effect. Overall, results of the current study provide insight into possible risks to vocal health in workers exposed to high levels of background noise and use hearing protection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.01.006DOI Listing
February 2021

Hyoid Bone Syndrome and Dysphonia: Can Throat Pain Affect the Voice?

Laryngoscope 2021 07 23;131(7):E2303-E2308. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Lakeshore Professional Voice Center/Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, U.S.A.

Objectives/hypothesis: To investigate the relationship of throat pain and dysphonia.

Study Design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: Forty-five subjects presenting with hyoid bone syndrome (HBS) and dysphonia were asked to rate their pain on a numerical rating scale and complete the 10-item Voice-Related Quality of Life (V-RQOL) questionnaire prior to and at 1-week follow-up after treatment with triamcinolone injection into the attachments to the affected greater cornu(s). Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were applied to evaluate if the overall V-RQOL scores, the physical functioning (PF) and social-emotional (SE) domain scores, and pain scores changed significantly after treatment. To evaluate how change in perceived pain affected V-RQOL, the differences in the V-RQOL, PF, and SE domain scores, and in pain scores were calculated for each subject. Three linear models were fit to the response variables, ΔV-RQOL, ΔPF, and ΔSE, using ΔPain as a predicting variable.

Results: V-RQOL, PF, and SE domain scores, and pain scores all improved significantly with treatment. A bigger decrease in the pain score led to a bigger increase in V-RQOL and domain scores, with slopes varying between -1.1 and -1.4. The PF domain scores showed the greatest improvement with decrease in pain scores.

Conclusions: Effective treatment of HBS led to improvement in patients' voice complaints, suggesting that throat pain may have a direct effect on voice. This may be related to compensatory perilaryngeal adjustments patients make when speaking with a "guarding" effect when they have throat pain.

Level Of Evidence: IV (Cohort study) Laryngoscope, 131:E2303-E2308, 2021.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lary.29464DOI Listing
July 2021

Effect of masks on speech intelligibility in auralized classrooms.

J Acoust Soc Am 2020 11;148(5):2878

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA.

This study explored the effects of wearing face masks on classroom communication. The effects of three different types of face masks (fabric, surgical, and N95 masks) on speech intelligibility (SI) presented to college students in auralized classrooms were evaluated. To simulate realistic classroom conditions, speech stimuli were presented in the presence of speech-shaped noise with a signal-to-noise ratio of +3 dB under two different reverberation times (0.4 s and 3.1 s). The use of fabric masks yielded a significantly greater reduction in SI compared to the other masks. Therefore, surgical masks or N95 masks are recommended in teaching environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/10.0002450DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857496PMC
November 2020

Work-Related Communicative Profile of Voice Teachers: Effects of Classroom Noise on Voice and Hearing Abilities.

J Voice 2022 Mar 3;36(2):291.e17-291.e31. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois. Electronic address:

Purpose: Vocal instructors during their normal workday are exposed to high noise levels that can affect their voice and hearing health. The goal of this study was to evaluate the voice and hearing status of voice instructors before and after lessons and relate these evaluations with voice and noise dosimetry taken during lessons.

Methods: Eight voice instructors volunteered to participate in the study. The protocol included (1) questionnaires, (2) pre/post assessment of voice quality and hearing status, and (3) voice and noise dosimetry during lessons. Acoustic measurements were taken of the unoccupied classrooms.

Results: In six of eight classrooms, the measured noise level was higher than the safety recommendations set by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The background noise level and the reverberation time in the classrooms were in compliance with the national standard recommendations. We did not find a clear pattern comparing pre- and post-measurements of voice quality consistent among genders. In all subjects, the Sound Pressure Levels mean increased, and the standard deviation of fundamental frequency decreased indicating association to vocal fatigue. Previous studies link these changes to increasing vocal fatigue. The audiometric results revealed seven out of eight instructors have sensorineural hearing loss.

Conclusions: The interaction of the acoustic space and noise levels can contribute to the development of hearing and voice disorders for voice instructors. If supported by larger sample size, the results of this pilot study could justify the need for a hearing and voice conservation program for music faculty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.05.021DOI Listing
March 2022

The Effect of Unilateral Hearing Protection on Vocal Intensity With Varying Degrees of Background Noise.

J Voice 2021 Nov 30;35(6):886-891. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois. Electronic address:

Introduction: The Lombard effect (LE) is a phenomenon in which speakers adjust their vocal production by raising the volume in noisy environments. As a result, the LE can create problems of vocal strain, fatigue and potential injury.

Objectives: This study aims to examine the difference in vocal intensity output in subjects wearing unilateral hearing protection versus no hearing protection in the presence of background noise.

Methods: Each subject was seated inside a sound booth wearing a head-mounted microphone. Subjects were asked to read an excerpt from "The Rainbow Passage" while various levels of background noise were played: 50, 60, 70, and 80 dBA (Multitalker Babble). Each noise level was played while the subject was with and without unilateral ear protection (Optime 98 Earmuff [3M]) in random order. The earmuff has a noise reduction rating of 25 dB. After each reading of the text, subjects were asked to rate communication disturbance, vocal clarity, and discomfort during talking using a 10 cm visual analogue scale.

Results: The LE is reduced from 0.38 dB/dB to 0.29 dB/dB with unilateral ear occlusion. However, self-perception of disturbance, clarity and comfort were not affected by unilateral occlusion, only by noise level.

Conclusions: Unilateral hearing protection reduces the LE and may protect against phonotrauma when speaking in an environment with loud background noise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.03.019DOI Listing
November 2021

Toward a Consensus Description of Vocal Effort, Vocal Load, Vocal Loading, and Vocal Fatigue.

J Speech Lang Hear Res 2020 02 19;63(2):509-532. Epub 2020 Feb 19.

Department of Logopedics, Phoniatrics and Audiology, Lund University, Sweden.

Purpose The purpose of this document is threefold: (a) review the uses of the terms "vocal fatigue," "vocal effort," "vocal load," and "vocal loading" (as found in the literature) in order to track the occurrence and the related evolution of research; (b) present a "linguistically modeled" definition of the same from the review of literature on the terms; and (c) propose conceptualized definitions of the concepts. Method A comprehensive literature search was conducted using PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Scientific Electronic Library Online. Four terms ("vocal fatigue," "vocal effort," "vocal load," and "vocal loading"), as well as possible variants, were included in the search, and their usages were compiled into conceptual definitions. Finally, a focus group of eight experts in the field (current authors) worked together to make conceptual connections and proposed consensus definitions. Results The occurrence and frequency of "vocal load," "vocal loading," "vocal effort," and "vocal fatigue" in the literature are presented, and summary definitions are developed. The results indicate that these terms appear to be often interchanged with blurred distinctions. Therefore, the focus group proposes the use of two new terms, "vocal demand" and "vocal demand response," in place of the terms "vocal load" and "vocal loading." We also propose standardized definitions for all four concepts. Conclusion Through a comprehensive literature search, the terms "vocal fatigue," "vocal effort," "vocal load," and "vocal loading" were explored, new terms were proposed, and standardized definitions were presented. Future work should refine these proposed definitions as research continues to address vocal health concerns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7210446PMC
February 2020

Singing Voice Quality: The Effects of Maxillary Dental Arch and Singing Style.

J Voice 2021 May 29;35(3):501.e11-501.e18. Epub 2019 Oct 29.

Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Lakeshore Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Introduction: In classical singing techniques, it is common to manipulate the vocal tract to channel airflow to increase voice quality and volume. Technique varies according to the style of the music, the voice type, and range of a given singer. Although these practices are intentional, fixed physiological aspects of a singer's vocal instrument also play an extremely impactful role in determining voice quality.

Objectives: In the present study, the relationship between the dimensions of the maxillary dental arch and voice quality were examined in professional singers.

Methods: The dimensions of the palate were measured from the maxillary dental casts of 14 female singers. Audio recordings were made for the same participants while singing a sustained /a/ singing vowel, a glissando, the song "Are You Sleeping", and a selected song from their personal repertoire. The dimensions of the palate were measured from maxillary dental casts. From the recordings, two parameters were calculated: (1) the Singing Power Ratio (SPR) and (2) A A ratio. Higher SPR values indicate a stronger ring in the voice, typical of operatic singing style, while higher A A ratio values are associated with the belting singing style.

Results: Singers with larger frontal palate depth, smaller posterior palate depth, larger frontal palate width, and smaller posterior palate width seem to be more suitable for an operatic singing style. Singers who had larger overall depth and width of the palate measurements produced an increased second harmonic, typical of the belting style.

Conclusions: When considering a singer's ability to produce vocalizations successfully, physiological structure is an increasingly important factor. The present study discovered that palate depth and width are associated with statistically significant differences in SPR and A/A parameters. These parameters correlate with two styles of singing, operatic, and belting respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.09.015DOI Listing
May 2021

Vocal Fatigue in Prospective Vocal Professionals.

J Voice 2021 Mar 14;35(2):247-258. Epub 2019 Sep 14.

Robert Lee Care Center, Robert Lee, Texas.

Objectives: The goals of the study were to (a) examine vocal fatigue in speech-language pathology students through subjective and objective measures following a novel 30-minute vocal loading task (VLT) and (b) evaluate the effects of psychosocial factors on vocal fatigue.

Methods: Seventeen speech-language pathology students completed a 30-minute VLT using the LingWAVES software program. In addition to maintaining target intensity goals during reading a text, participants were also required to modify their pitch and voice quality. Vocal fatigue was measured subjectively using Vocal Fatigue Index and Borg vocal effort scale and objectively using variations of relative sound pressure level, fundamental frequency, pitch strength, smoothed cepstral peak prominence (CPPS), and acoustic voice quality index before, during, and after VLT. Participants provided information on their sleep quantity, stress, and depression through nonstandardized and standardized surveys.

Results: Results revealed that perceived effort and fatigue increased significantly after the 30-minute VLT. Acoustic measures of relative sound pressure level and fundamental frequency and increased systematically during and after the completion of task. All students were moderately stressed and measures related to pitch were highly related with perceived stress.

Conclusions: The results of this study provide support for altering multiple vocal parameters to induce measurable changes in vocal fatigue following a short-duration VLT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.08.015DOI Listing
March 2021

Do Voice Acoustic Parameters Differ Between Bilingual English-Spanish Speakers and Monolingual English Speakers During English Productions?

J Voice 2021 Mar 14;35(2):194-202. Epub 2019 Sep 14.

Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Background: In addition to language differences in fundamental frequency between bilinguals and monolinguals, studies have also included other acoustic parameters to analyze differences in voice production associated with the language spoken.

Aim: To identify differences in voice acoustic parameters during English productions between monolingual and bilingual English speakers.

Method: Exploratory cross-sectional study with two groups of subjects: monolingual English speakers (n = 40), and bilingual English-Spanish speakers (n = 13). Participants filled out a questionnaire and recorded one reading in English (second sentence of Rainbow passage "The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors") under a "virtual-simulated" acoustic condition of No Noise and Medium Reverberation Time (0.8 seconds).

Result: Analysis by gender shows that monolingual speakers had higher fundamental frequency mode, and lower standard deviation of fundamental frequency compared to bilingual English-Spanish speakers. Bilingual male speakers had higher jitter and harmonics-to-noise ratio than monolingual speakers. On the contrary, female bilingual speakers had lower jitter and shimmer than monolingual speakers.

Conclusions: Speaking a second language may influence voice acoustic parameters, and therefore, should be considered when comparing acoustic speech metrics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.08.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7069795PMC
March 2021

Assessing the Acoustic Characteristics of Rooms: A Tutorial with Examples.

Perspect ASHA Spec Interest Groups 2018 Jan;3(19):8-24

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Champaign IL.

In both practicing audiology and speech language pathology, as well as in speech and hearing science research, the space where the work is done is an integral part of the function. Hence, for all of these endeavors it can be important to measure the acoustics of a room. This article provides a tutorial regarding the measurement of room reverberation and background noise, both of which are important when evaluating a space's strengths and limitations for speech communication. As the privacy of patients and research participants is a primary concern, the tutorial also describes a method for measuring the amount of acoustical insulation provided by a room's barriers. Several room measurement data sets - all obtained from the assessment of clinical and research spaces within our own department - are presented here as examples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/persp3.SIG19.8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375510PMC
January 2018

Reproducibility of Voice Parameters: The Effect of Room Acoustics and Microphones.

J Voice 2020 May 22;34(3):320-334. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Lakeshore Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, Michigan.

Introduction: Computer analysis of voice recordings is an integral part of the evaluation and management of voice disorders. In many practices, voice samples are taken in rooms that are not sound attenuated and/or sound-proofed; further, the technology used is rarely consistent. This will likely affect the recordings, and therefore, their analyses.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to compare various acoustic outcome measures taken from samples recorded in a sound-proofed booth to those recorded in more common clinic environments. Further, the effects from six different commonly used microphones will be compared.

Methods: Thirty-six speakers were recorded while reading a text and producing sustained vowels in a controlled acoustic environment. The collected samples were reproduced by a Head and Torso Simulator and recorded in three clinical rooms and in a sound booth using six different microphones. Newer measures (eg, Pitch Strength, cepstral peak prominence, Acoustic Voice Quality Index), as well as more traditional measures (eg Jitter, Shimmer, harmonics-to-noise ratio and Spectrum Tilt), were calculated from the samples collected with each microphone and within each room.

Results: The measures which are more robust to room acoustic differences, background noise, and microphone quality include Jitter and smooth cepstral peak prominence, followed by Shimmer, Acoustic Voice Quality Index, harmonics-to-noise ratio, Pitch Strength, and Spectrum Tilt.

Conclusions: The effect of room acoustics and background noise on voice parameters appears to be stronger than the type of microphone used for the recording. Consequently, an appropriate acoustical clinical space may be more important than the quality of the microphone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2018.10.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6529301PMC
May 2020

Lombard effect, ambient noise, and willingness to spend time and money in a restaurant.

J Acoust Soc Am 2018 09;144(3):EL209

Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA

The objective of this study is to determine the minimum level of noise in a restaurant that starts the Lombard effect, and how it relates to the perceived communication disturbance and the willingness to spend time and money for a meal. Twenty-eight participants were instructed to read a passage in the presence of restaurant noise from 35 to 85 dB(A). As the noise level increased, participants began to be disturbed by the noise at 52 dB(A) and began to raise their voice at 57 dB(A). The willingness to spend time and money decreased starting at 52 dB(A).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.5055018DOI Listing
September 2018

Work-related communicative profile of radio broadcasters: a case study.

Logoped Phoniatr Vocol 2019 Dec 5;44(4):178-191. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University , East Lansing , MI , USA.

To explore the short-term effect of work-related voice use on voice function, and noise exposure on hearing function among radio broadcasters. A 1-week follow-up study with the participation of two radio broadcasters was conducted. Participants were monitored at the beginning and at the end of the working week. Premonitoring assessment on Monday (baseline measure) and postmonitoring assessment on Friday (follow-up measure) were performed to identify short-term effects of work-related conditions on voice and hearing function among radio broadcasters. Changes in fundamental frequency postmonitoring at the end of the work week may be an indication of work-related vocal fatigue. Changes in the distribution and standard deviation of SPL during the monitoring from Monday to Friday may indicate control of the vocal loudness as a strategy to reduce vocal effort during broadcasting. During a 1-week follow-up, noise conditions during radio broadcasting were below occupational exposure limits and without noticeable consequences on hearing function. The work-related communicative profile of radio broadcasting, from this pilot study, suggests that although vocal demands in terms of vocal load may differ among broadcasters, the work-related conditions of broadcasting may play a role on vocal function among these occupational voice users. Concerning hearing function, our results indicate that occupational noise exposure represented minimal risk for hearing problems but the consequences of long-term noise exposure on hearing mechanisms may yet occur. Future studies with bigger sample sizes are warranted to confirm our results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14015439.2018.1504983DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6401321PMC
December 2019

Accuracy of the quantities measured by four vocal dosimeters and its uncertainty.

J Acoust Soc Am 2018 03;143(3):1591

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.

Although vocal dosimeters are often used for long-term voice monitoring, the uncertainty of the quantities measured by these devices is not always stated. In this study, two common vocal dosimetry quantities, mean vocal sound pressure level and mean vocal fundamental frequency, were measured by four vocal dosimeters (VocaLog2, VoxLog, Voice Care, and APM3200). The expanded uncertainty of the mean error in the estimation of these two quantities as measured by the four dosimeters was performed by simultaneously comparing signals acquired through a reference microphone and the devices themselves. Dosimeters, assigned in random order, were worn by the participants (22 vocally healthy adults), along with a head-mounted microphone, which acted as a reference. For each device, participants produced a sustained /a/ vowel four times and then read a text with three different vocal efforts (relaxed, normal, and raised). The measurement uncertainty was obtained by comparing data from the microphone and the dosimeters. The mean vocal sound pressure level was captured the most accurately by the Voice Care and the VoxLog while the APM3200 was the least accurate. The most accurate mean vocal fundamental frequency was estimated by the Voice Care and the APM3200, while the VoxLog was the least accurate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.5027816DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5864503PMC
March 2018

Vocal Fry and Vowel Height in Simulated Room Acoustics.

Folia Phoniatr Logop 2017 5;69(3):118-124. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of room acoustics in the relationship between vowel height and vocal fry.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Participants (college students, n = 40) read the first six sentences of "The Rainbow Passage" under nine simulated room acoustic conditions. Using two words with low vowels (act, pot) and two words with high vowels (shape, strikes) preceding a voiceless stop, the presence/absence of vocal fry was assessed using an automatic detection script. Generalized estimation equations were used to investigate the relationship between percentage of vocal fry, vowel height, and room acoustics.

Results: The percentage of vocal fry was significantly higher for the low-height vowels compared with the high-height vowels (β = 1.21; standard er ror = 0.35), and for pink background noise present (β = 0.89; standard error = 0.35) compared with the condition without artificial noise added.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that young college students are more likely to produce fry phonation when producing low-height vowels under pink background noise condition compared with no noise conditions and high-height vowels. This result is of special interest for voice clinicians when designing therapy plans and vocal assessment protocols with fry-like components.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000481282DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6501773PMC
February 2019

The Effect of Classroom Capacity on Vocal Fatigue as Quantified by the Vocal Fatigue Index.

Folia Phoniatr Logop 2017 12;69(3):85-93. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Objective: Previous research has concluded that teachers are at a higher-than-normal risk for voice issues that can cause occupational limitations. While some risk factors have been identified, there are still many unknowns.

Patients And Methods: A survey was distributed electronically with 506 female teacher respondents. The survey included questions to quantify three aspects of vocal fatigue as captured by the Vocal Fatigue Index (VFI): (1) general tiredness of voice (performance), (2) physical discomfort associated with voicing (pain), and (3) improvement of symptoms with rest (recovery). The effect of classroom capacity on US teachers' self-reported experience of vocal fatigue was analyzed.

Results: The results indicated that a classroom's capacity significantly affected teachers' reported amounts of vocal fatigue, while a teacher's age also appeared to significantly affect the reported amount of vocal fatigue. A quadratic rather than linear effect was seen, with the largest age effect occurring at around 40-45 years in all three factors of the VFI.

Conclusion: Further factors which may affect vocal fatigue must be explored in future research. By understanding what increases the risk for vocal fatigue, educators and school administrators can take precautions to mitigate the occupational risk of short- and long-term vocal health issues in school teachers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000484558DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336191PMC
February 2019

Evaluation of the starting point of the Lombard Effect.

Acta Acust United Acust 2017 Jan-Feb;103(1):169-172. Epub 2017 Jan 1.

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.

Speakers increase their vocal effort when their communication is disturbed by noise. This adaptation is termed the Lombard effect. The aim of the present study was to determine whether this effect has a starting point. Hence, the effects of noise at levels between 20 and 65 dB(A) on vocal effort (quantified by sound pressure level) and on both perceived noise disturbance and perceived vocal discomfort were evaluated. Results indicate that there is a Lombard effect change-point at a background noise level (Ln) of 43.3 dB(A). This change-point is anticipated by noise disturbance, and is followed by a high magnitude of vocal discomfort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3813/AAA.919043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612409PMC
January 2017

Speech produced in noise: Relationship between listening difficulty and acoustic and durational parameters.

J Acoust Soc Am 2017 08;142(2):974

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.

Conversational speech produced in noise can be characterised by increases in intelligibility relative to such speech produced in quiet. Listening difficulty (LD) is a metric that can be used to evaluate speech transmission performance more sensitively than intelligibility scores in situations in which performance is likely to be high. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the LD of speech produced in different noise and style conditions, to evaluate the spectral and durational speech modifications associated with these conditions, and to determine whether any of the spectral and durational parameters predicted LD. Nineteen subjects were instructed to speak at normal and loud volumes in the presence of background noise at 40.5 dB(A) and babble noise at 61 dB(A). The speech signals were amplitude-normalised, combined with pink noise to obtain a signal-to-noise ratio of -6 dB, and presented to twenty raters who judged their LD. Vowel duration, fundamental frequency and the proportion of the spectral energy in high vs low frequencies increased with the noise level within both styles. LD was lowest when the speech was produced in the presence of high level noise and at a loud volume, indicating improved intelligibility. Spectrum balance was observed to predict LD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4997906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5648561PMC
August 2017

Factors associated with vocal fry among college students.

Logoped Phoniatr Vocol 2018 Jul 14;43(2):73-79. Epub 2017 Aug 14.

a Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders , Michigan State University , East Lansing, MI , USA.

Purpose: Vocal fry is increasingly used in everyday speech. The purpose of this study was to identify associated factors of vocal fry among young US college-age students.

Methods: Forty college students participated in a cross-sectional study. Participants produced speech under nine different room acoustic conditions (simulated). The recorded speech was perceptually evaluated by three speech-language pathologists. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables (individual, environmental) associated with the perceptual assessment of vocal fry.

Results: A high occurrence of perceptually identified vocal fry was identified among college students. Two factors were significantly associated with lower occurrence of perceptually identified vocal fry: one individual (sporadic consumption of caffeinated beverages) and one environmental factor (speaking in an environment with background noise).

Conclusions: Similar to modal phonation, fry-like phonation seems to be influenced by individual and environmental factors. Therefore, clinicians interested in including this technique as part of their intervention programs may take into account the caffeine consumption and the background noise conditions of the room where the therapy will take place in order to facilitate the production of fry-like phonation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14015439.2017.1362468DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123225PMC
July 2018

Teachers' voicing and silence periods during continuous speech in classrooms with different reverberation times.

J Acoust Soc Am 2017 01;141(1):EL26

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.

The relationship between reverberation times and the voicing and silence accumulations of continuous speech was quantified in 22 primary-school teachers. Teachers were divided into a high and a low reverberation time groups based on their classroom reverberation time (higher and lower than 0.90 s). Reverberation times higher than 0.90 s implicate higher voicing accumulations and higher accumulations of the silences typical of turn taking in dialogue. These results suggest that vocal load, which can lead to vocal fatigue, is influenced by classroom reverberation time. Therefore, it may be considered a risk factor for occupational voice users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4973312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5392096PMC
January 2017

Speech Adjustments for Room Acoustics and Their Effects on Vocal Effort.

J Voice 2017 May 28;31(3):392.e1-392.e12. Epub 2016 Oct 28.

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Electronic address:

Objectives: The aims of the present study are (1) to analyze the effects of the acoustical environment and the voice style on time dose (D) and fundamental frequency (mean f and standard deviation std_f) while taking into account the effect of short-term vocal fatigue and (2) to predict the self-reported vocal effort from the voice acoustical parameters.

Methods: Ten male and ten female subjects were recorded while reading a text in normal and loud styles, in three rooms-anechoic, semi-reverberant, and reverberant-with and without acrylic glass panels 0.5 m from the mouth, which increased external auditory feedback. Subjects quantified how much effort was required to speak in each condition on a visual analogue scale after each task.

Results: (Aim1) In the loud style, D, f, and std_f increased. The D was higher in the reverberant room compared to the other two rooms. Both genders tended to increase f in less reverberant environments, whereas a more monotonous speech was produced in rooms with greater reverberation. All three voice parameters increased with short-term vocal fatigue. (Aim2) A model of the vocal effort to acoustic vocal parameters is proposed. The sound pressure level contributed to 66% of the variance explained by the model, followed by the f (30%) and the modulation in amplitude (4%).

Conclusions: The results provide insight into how voice acoustical parameters can predict vocal effort. In particular, it increased when SPL and f increased and when the amplitude voice modulation decreased.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.10.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409880PMC
May 2017

Silence and Voicing Accumulations in Italian Primary School Teachers With and Without Voice Disorders.

J Voice 2017 Mar 14;31(2):260.e11-260.e20. Epub 2016 Jun 14.

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Objectives: The relationship between the silence and voicing accumulations of primary school teachers and the teachers' clinical status was examined to determine whether more voicing accumulations and fewer silence accumulations were measured for the vocally unhealthy subjects than for the healthy subjects, which would imply more vocal loading and fewer short-term recovery moments.

Methods: Twenty-six Italian primary school teachers were allocated by clinicians to three groups: (1) with organic voice disorders, (2) with subjectively mild organic alteration or functional voice symptoms, and (3) normal voice quality and physiology. Continuous silence and voicing periods were measured with the APM3200 during the teachers' 4-hour workdays. The accumulations were grouped into seven time intervals, ranging from 0.03-0.9 to 3.16-10 seconds, according to Italian prosody. The effects of group on silence and voicing accumulations were evaluated.

Results: Regarding silence accumulations, Group 1 accumulated higher values in intervals between 0.1 and 3.15 seconds than other groups, whereas Groups 2 and 3 did not differ from each other. Voicing accumulations between 0.17 and 3.15 seconds were higher for subjects with a structural disorder. A higher time dose was accumulated by these subjects (40.6%) than other subjects (Group 2, 31.9%; Group 3, 32.3%).

Conclusions: Although previous research has suggested that a rest period of a few seconds may produce some vocal fatigue recovery, these results indicate that periods shorter than 3.16 seconds may not have an observable effect on recovery. The results provide insight into how vocal fatigue and vocal recovery may relate to voice disorders in occupational voice users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.05.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156594PMC
March 2017

Effects of speech style, room acoustics, and vocal fatigue on vocal effort.

J Acoust Soc Am 2016 05;139(5):2870

Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.

Vocal effort is a physiological measure that accounts for changes in voice production as vocal loading increases. It has been quantified in terms of sound pressure level (SPL). This study investigates how vocal effort is affected by speaking style, room acoustics, and short-term vocal fatigue. Twenty subjects were recorded while reading a text at normal and loud volumes in anechoic, semi-reverberant, and reverberant rooms in the presence of classroom babble noise. The acoustics in each environment were modified by creating a strong first reflection in the talker position. After each task, the subjects answered questions addressing their perception of the vocal effort, comfort, control, and clarity of their own voice. Variation in SPL for each subject was measured per task. It was found that SPL and self-reported effort increased in the loud style and decreased when the reflective panels were present and when reverberation time increased. Self-reported comfort and control decreased in the loud style, while self-reported clarity increased when panels were present. The lowest magnitude of vocal fatigue was experienced in the semi-reverberant room. The results indicate that early reflections may be used to reduce vocal effort without modifying reverberation time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4950812DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5392070PMC
May 2016

Teachers and Teaching: Speech Production Accommodations Due to Changes in the Acoustic Environment.

Energy Procedia 2015 Nov;78:3102-3107

Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, N283 ESC, Provo, UT 84602.

School teachers have an elevated risk of voice problems due to the vocal demands in the workplace. This manuscript presents the results of three studies investigating teachers' voice use at work. In the first study, 57 teachers were observed for 2 weeks (waking hours) to compare how they used their voice in the school environment and in non-school environments. In a second study, 45 participants performed a short vocal task in two different rooms: a variable acoustic room and an anechoic chamber. Subjects were taken back and forth between the two rooms. Each time they entered the variable acoustics room, the reverberation time and/or the background noise condition had been modified. In this latter study, subjects responded to questions about their vocal comfort and their perception of changes in the acoustic environment. In a third study, 20 untrained vocalists performed a simple vocal task in the following conditions: with and without background babble and with and without transparent plexiglass shields to increase the first reflection. Relationships were examined between [1] the results for the room acoustic parameters; [2] the subjects' perception of the room; and [3] the recorded speech acoustic. Several differences between male and female subjects were found; some of those differences held for each room condition (at school vs. not at school, reverberation level, noise level, and early reflection).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2015.11.764DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4774899PMC
November 2015
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