Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 5, P545-555, September 2013

Normative Voice Data for Younger and Older Adults

  • Huiwen Goy
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • David N. Fernandes
    MintLeaf Software Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • M. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Pascal van Lieshout
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Pascal van Lieshout, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, 500 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7.
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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      We constructed age- and gender-specific norms for healthy adults on a large number of speech and voice measures using standardized recording procedures.

      Study design

      Participants were 159 younger (mean=19.1 years, standard deviation [SD]=1.4) and 133 older (mean=72.0 years, SD=4.8) healthy native English male and female speakers who did not currently smoke and had typical hearing for their age group.


      Participants phonated the vowel [a] under various instructions and read an abbreviated version of the Rainbow Passage. Voice measures based on the productions of [a] included fundamental frequency (F0), jitter, shimmer, harmonics-to-noise ratio, noise-to-harmonics ratio, maximum phonation time, minimum phonation intensity, maximum pitch, and the Dysphonia Severity Index (DSI). Mean speaking fundamental frequency (SF0), SF0 standard deviation (SF0SD), and signal intensity were measured from the reading passage.


      Noteworthy age-related differences were found for males and females. Older females had a lower F0 and SF0 and smaller SF0SD than younger females, but younger and older males did not differ. Shimmer increased with age for males, but neither jitter nor shimmer increased with age for females, whereas noise measures were similar for both ages. Younger and older males had a similar DSI, whereas older females had a higher DSI than younger females.


      This study provides a unique database containing a wide variety of voice measures collected from a large sample of adults in good health using standardized recording procedures. Males and females differed on the type and extent of age-related vocal changes, but overall age-related differences were limited.

      Key Words

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