Effect of Fundamental Frequency on Judgments of Electrolaryngeal Speech Purpose: To determine (a) the effect of fundamental frequency (f0) on speech intelligibility, acceptability, and perceived gender in electrolaryngeal (EL) speakers, and (b) the effect of known gender on speech acceptability in EL speakers.Method: A 2-part study was conducted. In Part 1, 34 healthy adults provided speech recordings ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 2012
Effect of Fundamental Frequency on Judgments of Electrolaryngeal Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathy F. Nagle
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Tanya L. Eadie
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Derek R. Wright
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Yumi A. Sumida
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Correspondence to Kathy F. Nagle: kfnagle@uw.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Rebecca Leonard
    Associate Editor: Rebecca Leonard×
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Article
Research Article   |   May 2012
Effect of Fundamental Frequency on Judgments of Electrolaryngeal Speech
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 154-166. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0050)
History: Received May 12, 2011 , Accepted January 29, 2012
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 154-166. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0050)
History: Received May 12, 2011; Accepted January 29, 2012

Purpose: To determine (a) the effect of fundamental frequency (f0) on speech intelligibility, acceptability, and perceived gender in electrolaryngeal (EL) speakers, and (b) the effect of known gender on speech acceptability in EL speakers.

Method: A 2-part study was conducted. In Part 1, 34 healthy adults provided speech recordings using electrolarynges set at 75 Hz, 130 Hz, and 175 Hz, and 36 listeners transcribed the recordings. In Part 2, 22 speech samples were presented to 16 listeners. First, listeners identified the gender of each speaker and judged his or her speech acceptability using rating scales. Second, listeners judged the same samples for speech acceptability when gender information was provided.

Results: In Part 1, speakers were significantly more intelligible when using 75-Hz devices. In Part 2, the f0 of the speech signal significantly impacted listeners' accuracy in perceiving the speaker’s gender: In gender-incongruent conditions (males using 175-Hz devices, females using 75-Hz devices), listeners were unable to identify female speakers. Speech acceptability judgments were directly related to intelligibility. Finally, listeners differentially penalized female speakers who used 75-Hz devices when gender information was known.

Conclusion: Low f0 facilitated speech intelligibility. However, at low f0, listeners were unable to identify females as female, and females were differentially penalized for speech acceptability. Results may have implications for rehabilitation.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this paper were presented at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, November 2007, Boston, MA, and November 2008, Chicago, IL.
This work is based on theses by Yuma A. Sumida and Derek R. Wright, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MS degree from the University of Washington. Part of this work is also based on an undergraduate honor’s project by Caroline Bishop, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a BS degree from the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, and we thank Ms. Bishop for her assistance in carrying out portions of this project. We wish to acknowledge the valuable insight provided by Kristie Spencer, Robert Miller, and Martin Nevdahl throughout this project. We also wish to thank all of the participants in this study, student researchers in the Vocal Function Laboratory who helped with data collection, and Andrew Smith, who programmed part of the perceptual software. Finally, we wish to thank Cliff Griffin from Griffin Laboratories, who loaned us the three Solatone devices that were used in this study.
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