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×
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: Accepted 29 Jan 2012 , Received 12 May 2011
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology May 2012, Vol.21, 154-166. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0050)
History: Accepted 29 Jan 2012 , Received 12 May 2011

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.

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