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Perceptual and acoustic assessment of strain (Park et al., 2020)

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-05, 20:37 authored by Yeonggwang Park, Manuel Díaz Cádiz, Kathleen F. Nagle, Cara E. Stepp
Purpose: Assessment of strained voice quality is difficult due to the weak reliability of auditory-perceptual evaluation and lack of strong acoustic correlates. This study evaluated the contributions of relative fundamental frequency (RFF) and mid-to-high frequency noise to the perception of strain.
Method: Stimuli were created using recordings of speakers producing /ifi/ with a comfortable voice and with maximum vocal effort. RFF values of the comfortable voice samples were synthetically lowered, and RFF values of the maximum vocal effort samples were synthetically raised. Mid-to-high frequency noise was added to the samples. Twenty listeners rated strain in a visual sort-and-rate task. The effects of RFF modification and added noise on strain were assessed using an analysis of variance; intra- and interrater reliability were compared with and without noise.
Results: Lowering RFF in the comfortable voice samples increased their perceived strain, whereas raising RFF in the maximum vocal effort samples decreased their strain. Adding noise increased strain and decreased intra- and interrater reliability relative to samples without added noise.
Conclusions: Both RFF and mid-to-high frequency noise contribute to the perception of strain. The presence of dysphonia may decrease the reliability of auditory-perceptual evaluation of strain, which supports the need for complementary objective assessments.

Supplemental Material S1. Visual sort-and-rate (VSR) task for synthetic quality.

Park, Y., Díaz Cádiz, M., Nagle, K. F., & Stepp, C. E. (2020). Perceptual and acoustic assessment of strain using synthetically modified voice samples. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00294


This work was supported by Grant DC015570 (awarded to Cara E. Stepp) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and a Dudley Allen Sargent Research Fund Grant (awarded to Yeonggwang Park) from Boston University.