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Speech production in singers and nonsingers (Tremblay et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-10-23, 15:17 authored by Pascale Tremblay, Lydia Gagnon, Johanna-Pascale Roy, Alison Arseneault

Purpose: Amateur singing is a universal, accessible, and enjoyable musical activity that may have positive impacts on human communication. However, evidence of an impact of singing on speech articulation is still scarce, yet understanding the effects of vocal training on speech production could provide a model for treating people with speech deficits. The aim of this study was to examine speech production in younger and older adults with or without amateur singing experience.

Method: Thirty-eight amateur singers (aged 20–87 years, 23 women and 15 men) and 40 nonmusician active controls (aged 23–88 years, 19 women and 21 men) were recruited. A set of tasks were used to evaluate the oral motor sphere: two voice production tasks, a passage reading task, and a modified diadochokinetic (DDK) rates task performed at a natural rhythm and as quickly as possible.

Results: Our results show that older age was associated with lower reading rate, lower articulation rate, and articulation rate variability in the DDK task, as well as reduced accuracy for the phonologically complex stimuli. Most importantly, our results show an advantage for singers over cognitively active nonsingers in terms of articulatory accuracy in the most challenging situations.

Conclusion: This result suggests extended maximal performance capacities in amateur singers perhaps resulting from the articulatory efforts required during singing.

Supplemental Material S1. Singers’ characteristics.

Supplemental Material S2. Dementia risk factor.

Supplemental Material S3. La bise et le soleil.

Supplemental Material S4. Details of the stimuli for the DDK task.

Supplemental Material S5. Additional results for voice production.

Supplemental Material S6. Additional results for passage reading.

Supplemental Material S7. Additional results for DDK accuracy.

Supplemental Material S8. Additional results for DDK articulation rate.

Supplemental Material S9. Additional results for DDK nPVI.

Tremblay, P., Gagnon, L., Roy, J.-P., & Arseneault, A. (2023). Speech production in healthy older adults with or without amateur singing experience. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This research was supported by Pascale Tremblay’s grants from the Fonds de la recherche du Québec–Nature et Technologies (2019-PR-254714), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (31408), and one Globalink research internship from MITACS.


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