Acoustic Measures and Self-reports of Vocal Fatigue by Female Teachers

Published:November 29, 2006DOI:


      This study investigated the relation of symptoms of vocal fatigue to acoustic variables reflecting type of voice production and the effects of vocal loading. Seventy-nine female primary school teachers volunteered as subjects. Before and after a working day, (1) a 1-minute text reading sample was recorded at habitual loudness and loudly (as in large classroom), (2) a prolonged phonation on [a:] was recorded at habitual speaking pitch and loudness, and (3) a questionnaire about voice quality, ease, or difficulty of phonation and tiredness of throat was completed. The samples were analyzed for average fundamental frequency (F0), sound pressure level (SPL), and phonation type reflecting alpha ratio (SPL [1–5 kHz]−SPL [50 Hz–1 kHz]). The vowel samples were additionally analyzed for perturbation (jitter and shimmer). After a working day, F0, SPL, and alpha ratio were higher, jitter and shimmer values were lower, and more tiredness of throat was reported. The average levels of the acoustic parameters did not correlate with the symptoms. Increase in jitter and mean F0 in loud reading correlated with tiredness of throat. The results seem to suggest that, at least among experienced vocal professionals, voice production type had little relevance from the point of view of vocal fatigue reported. Differences in the acoustic parameters after a vocally loading working day mainly seem to reflect increased muscle activity as a consequence of vocal loading.

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