Acoustic Correlates of Breathy Vocal Quality: Dysphonic Voices and Continuous Speech In an earlier study, we evaluated the effectiveness of several acoustic measures in predicting breathiness ratings for sustained vowels spoken by nonpathological talkers who were asked to produce nonbreathy, moderately breathy, and very breathy phonation (Hillenbrand, Cleveland, & Erickson, 1994). The purpose of the present study was to extend these ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1996
Acoustic Correlates of Breathy Vocal Quality: Dysphonic Voices and Continuous Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James Hillenbrand
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Robert A. Houde
    RIT Research Corporation, Rochester, NY
  • Contact author: James Hillenbrand, PhD, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. E-mail: james.hillenbrand@wmich.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1996
Acoustic Correlates of Breathy Vocal Quality: Dysphonic Voices and Continuous Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1996, Vol. 39, 311-321. doi:10.1044/jshr.3902.311
History: Received May 24, 1995 , Accepted September 6, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1996, Vol. 39, 311-321. doi:10.1044/jshr.3902.311
History: Received May 24, 1995; Accepted September 6, 1995

In an earlier study, we evaluated the effectiveness of several acoustic measures in predicting breathiness ratings for sustained vowels spoken by nonpathological talkers who were asked to produce nonbreathy, moderately breathy, and very breathy phonation (Hillenbrand, Cleveland, & Erickson, 1994). The purpose of the present study was to extend these results to speakers with laryngeal pathologies and to conduct tests using connected speech in addition to sustained vowels. Breathiness ratings were obtained from a sustained vowel and a 12-word sentence spoken by 20 pathological and 5 nonpathological talkers. Acoustic measures were made of (a) signal periodicity, (b) first harmonic amplitude, and (c) spectral tilt. For the sustained vowels, a frequency domain measure of periodicity provided the most accurate predictions of perceived breathiness, accounting for 92% of the variance in breathiness ratings. The relative amplitude of the first harmonic and two measures of spectral tilt correlated moderately with breathiness ratings. For the sentences, both signal periodicity and spectral tilt provided accurate predictions of breathiness ratings, accounting for 70%-85% of the variance.

Acknowledgments
We are very grateful to Jessica Schneider, who conducted the pilot work for this study, and to Jody Kreiman, Bruce Gerratt, and Michael Clark for helpful comments on an earlier draft. This work was supported by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (1-R01-DC01661).
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