The Relationship of Age and Cardiovascular Health to Certain Acoustic Characteristics of Male Voices The purpose of this investigation was to obtain information about the acoustic characteristics of men’s voices as a function of age and cardiovascular health. Eighteen adult males, divided equally into groups of healthy young and elderly men and elderly men diagnosed with chronic atherosclerosis in the absence of other systemic ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1990
The Relationship of Age and Cardiovascular Health to Certain Acoustic Characteristics of Male Voices
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert F. Orlikoff
    Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert F. Orlikoff, Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Memphis State University, 807 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1990
The Relationship of Age and Cardiovascular Health to Certain Acoustic Characteristics of Male Voices
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 450-457. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.450
History: Received September 21, 1989 , Accepted February 9, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 450-457. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.450
History: Received September 21, 1989; Accepted February 9, 1990

The purpose of this investigation was to obtain information about the acoustic characteristics of men’s voices as a function of age and cardiovascular health. Eighteen adult males, divided equally into groups of healthy young and elderly men and elderly men diagnosed with chronic atherosclerosis in the absence of other systemic complaints, prolonged the vowel /α/ at a comfortable pitch maintained within 70–78 dB SPL. Measures of mean fundamental frequency (F0), mean jitter and shimmer (both absolute and relative), and the standard deviation of F0, SPL, and peak-to-peak vocal amplitude were computed. Significant differences were found between the healthy young and healthy elderly subjects on measures of F0 and amplitude SD, percent jitter, and shimmer. Differences were generally magnified when the younger subjects were compared with the elderly atherosclerotic subjects. Although only percent jitter significantly differentiated between the two geriatric groups, the atherosclerotics’ phonations were generally associated with greater short- and long-term variability (as well as intersubject variability) than the healthy elderly men. Unlike the younger subjects, the elderly (especially the elderly atherosclerotic) subjects’ perturbation measures fell much closer to the upper limits established in the literature for normal voices, indicating that the elderly speaker may be more prone to vocal disruption in the face of pathology.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported in part by a grant award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, a Memphis State University Faculty Research Grant, and by the Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired (CRISCI), Memphis State University.
The author wishes to thank Robert Mayo for his aid in conducting this experiment, and Dr. Hollie Walker, Jr., for his assistance in subject acquisition. Sincere thanks also to Dale E. Metz, E. Thomas Doherty, and Robert A. Prosek for their diligent review of an earlier version of this manuscript and for their helpful comments and suggestions. This paper is respectfully dedicated to the late Professor Edward D. Mysak.
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