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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.


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.