A Field-Based Approach to Establish Normative Acoustic Data for Healthy Female Voices.


Pierce JL(1)(2), Tanner K(3), Merrill RM(4), Shnowske L(2)(5), Roy N(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Surgery, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
(2)Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
(3)Department of Communication Disorders, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
(4)Department of Public Health, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
(5)Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Kentucky, Lexington.


Purpose The primary aim of this study was to obtain high-quality acoustic normative data in natural field environments for female voices. A secondary aim was to examine acoustic measurement variability in field environments. Method This study employed a within-subject repeated-measures experimental design that included 45 young female adults with normal voices. Participants were stratified by age (18-23, 24-29, and 30-35 years). After initial evaluation and instruction, participants completed voice recordings during seven consecutive days using a standard protocol, including both connected speech and sustained vowels. Thirty-two cepstral-, spectral-, and time-based acoustic measures were acquired using Praat and the Analysis of Dysphonia in Speech and Voice. Results Among the 958 total recordings, greater than 90% satisfied inclusion criteria based on protocol compliance, peak clipping, and signal-to-noise ratio. Significant differences were observed for age (p < .05). For 19 acoustic measures, values improved significantly as signal-to-noise ratio increased. Cepstral- and spectral-based measures demonstrated less measurement variability as compared with time-based measures. Conclusions With adequate training, field audio recordings represent a viable option for clinical voice management. The significant age effects observed in this study support the need for more specific criteria when collecting and applying normative data. Cepstral- and spectral-based measures demonstrated the least measurement variability. This study provides additional evidence for multiparameter acoustic voice measurement, specifically toward ecologically valid sampling in natural environments. Future studies should expand on these findings in other populations with normal and disordered voices.