Source and Filter Acoustic Measures of Young, Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults for Application in Vowel Synthesis

  • Giovanna Castilho Davatz
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Rosiane Yamasaki, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, R. Botucatu, 802, São Paulo, SP 04023-062, Brazil.
    Affiliations
    Interunit Graduate Program in Bioengineering, Programa de Pós-Graduação Interunidades em Bioengenharia da EESC/IQSC/FMRP - USP - University of São Paulo - Av. Trabalhador São-carlense, 400, São Carlos/SP, Brazil, Zip Code: 13566-590
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  • Rosiane Yamasaki
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Rosiane Yamasaki, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, R. Botucatu, 802, São Paulo, SP 04023-062, Brazil.
    Affiliations
    Federal University of São Paulo, Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP - Department of Speech-Language Pathology - R. Botucatu, 802 - Vila Clementino - São Paulo/SP, Brazil, Zip Code: 04023-062
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  • Adriana Hachiya
    Affiliations
    Department of Otolaryngology of Clinical Hospital of University of São Paulo - Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP) - Rua, Av. Dr. Enéas Carvalho de Aguiar, 255, São Paulo/SP, Brazil, Zip Code: 05403-000
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  • Domingos Hiroshi Tsuji
    Affiliations
    Department of Otolaryngology of Clinical Hospital of University of São Paulo - Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP) - Rua, Av. Dr. Enéas Carvalho de Aguiar, 255, São Paulo/SP, Brazil, Zip Code: 05403-000
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  • Arlindo Neto Montagnoli
    Affiliations
    Federal University of São Carlos, Universidade Federal de São Carlos - UFSCar- Department of Electrical Engineering - Rodovia Washington Luís, km 235 - São Carlos/SP, Brazil, Zip Code: 13565-905
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Published:October 27, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.08.025

      Abstract

      Introduction

      The output sound has important changes throughout life due to anatomical and physiological modifications in the larynx and vocal tract. Understanding the young adult to the elderly speech acoustic characteristics may assist in the synthesis of representative voices of men and women of different age groups.

      Objective

      To obtain the fundamental frequency (f0), formant frequencies (F1, F2, F3, F4), and bandwidth (B1, B2, B3, B4) values extracted from the sustained vowel /a/ of young, middle-aged, and elderly adults who are Brazilian Portuguese speakers; to present the application of these parameters in vowel synthesis.

      Study Design

      Prospective study.

      Methods

      The acoustic analysis of tokens of the 162 sustained vowel /a/ produced by vocally healthy adults, men, and women, between 18 and 80 years old, was performed. The adults were divided into three groups: young adults (18 to 44 years old); middle-aged adults (45 to 59 years old) and, elderly adults (60 to 80 years old). The f0, F1, F2, F3, F4, B1, B2, B3, B4 were extracted from the audio signals. Their average values were applied to a source-filter mathematical model to perform vowel synthesis in each age group both men and woman.

      Results

      Young women had higher f0 than middle-aged and elderly women. Elderly women had lower F1 than middle-aged women. Young women had higher F2 than elderly women. For the men's output sound, the source-filter acoustic measures were statistically equivalent among the age groups. Average values of the f0, F1, F2, F3, F4, B1, and B2 were higher in women. The sound waves distance in signals, the position of formant frequencies and the dimension of the bandwidths visible in spectra of the synthesized sounds represent the average values extracted from the volunteers' emissions for the sustained vowel /a/ in Brazilian Portuguese.

      Conclusion

      Sustained vowel /a/ produced by women presented different values of f0, F1 and F2 between age groups, which was not observed for men. In addition to the f0 and the formant frequencies, the bandwidths were also different between women and men. The synthetic vowels available represent the acoustic changes found for each sex as a function of age.

      Key Words

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