Development and Perceptual Evaluation of Amplitude-Based F0 Control in Electrolarynx Speech PurposeCurrent electrolarynx (EL) devices produce a mechanical speech quality that has been largely attributed to the lack of natural fundamental frequency (F0) variation. In order to improve the quality of EL speech, in the present study the authors aimed to develop and evaluate an automatic F0 control scheme, in which ... Research Note
Research Note  |   October 01, 2009
Development and Perceptual Evaluation of Amplitude-Based F0 Control in Electrolarynx Speech
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Robert E. Hillman, Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center, One Bowdoin Square, (11th Floor), Boston, MA 02114. E-mail: hillman.robert@mgh.harvard.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Research Note   |   October 01, 2009
Development and Perceptual Evaluation of Amplitude-Based F0 Control in Electrolarynx Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1360-1369. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0167)
History: Received August 12, 2008 , Accepted January 7, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1360-1369. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0167)
History: Received August 12, 2008; Accepted January 7, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeCurrent electrolarynx (EL) devices produce a mechanical speech quality that has been largely attributed to the lack of natural fundamental frequency (F0) variation. In order to improve the quality of EL speech, in the present study the authors aimed to develop and evaluate an automatic F0 control scheme, in which F0 was modulated based on variations in the root-mean-square (RMS) amplitude of the EL speech signal.

MethodRecordings of declarative sentences produced by 2 male participants before and after total laryngectomy were used to develop procedures for calculating F0 contours for EL speech. Specifically, the positive linear relationship between F0 and RMS amplitude observed in pre-laryngectomy speech was used as the basis for generating an F0 contour based on the amplitude variation of EL speech. An analysis-by-synthesis approach was used to modify the F0 contour, and a perceptual experiment was conducted to examine its impact on the quality of the EL speech.

ResultsThe results of perceptual experiments showed that modulating the F0 of EL speech using a linear relationship between amplitude and frequency made it significantly more natural sounding than EL speech with constant F0.

ConclusionsThe current study provides preliminary support for amplitude-based control of F0 in EL speech.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 DC006449 and R41 DC008722-01A1. We would like to thank Harold Cheyne, James Heaton, Geoff Meltzner, and members of the Speech Communication group for their help with this experiment as well as for their comments and discussion.
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