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Acoustically induced vocal training for individuals with impaired hearing

: Graf, Simone; Bungenstock, Anna; Richter, Lena; Unterhofer, Carmen; Gruner, Michael; Hartmann, Peter; Hoyer, Patrick


Journal of voice (2021), Online First
ISSN: 0892-1997
ISSN: 1557-8658
ISSN: 1873-4588
Fraunhofer IWS ()

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Articulation, phonation, and resonance disorders in the speech of hearing-impaired-speakers reduces intelligibility. The study focusses on (1) whether nonacoustic feedback may facilitate the adjustment of the vocal tract, leading to increased vocal tract resonance, and (2) whether training with the feedback would be helpful for the subsequent formation of vowels.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective.
METHODS: Seven profoundly hearing-impaired participants used acoustic sound waves in the frequency range of the first two vocal tract resonances applied in front of the open mouth at intensities above 1 Pa. They were asked to amplify the sound via adjusting the vocal tract. The sound waves corresponded to the first and second resonance frequencies of the vowels [u], [o], and [a]. The self-assessment of the participants and a software-based/auditory analysis was reported.
RESULTS: The participants were able to enhance the acoustic signal by adjusting the vocal tract shape. The self-perception of the participants, the auditory voice analysis, and the acoustic analysis of vowels were consistent with each other. While the maximum sound pressure levels were constant, the mean sound pressure levels increased. Breathiness and hoarseness declined during the exercises. Resonance/harmonic-to-noise ratio increased, especially for the vowels [u], [o], [a]. Furthermore, the positively connoted feedback from the participants indicated easier sound production.
CONCLUSION: Nonauditory feedback, based on acoustic waves, could be suitable for improving the formation of vowels. The findings are in accordance with a reduction of acoustic losses within the vocal tract.