Do the Nonlinear Dynamic Acoustic Measurements, Nonlinear Energy Difference Ratio and Spectrum Convergence Ratio, Correlate with Perceptual Evaluation of Esophageal Voice Speakers?



      The acoustic assessment of phonation after total laryngectomy is challenged by signal aperiodicity which makes frequency-based acoustic measures less reliable. This is important for patients who use esophageal voice since voice samples mostly include type III (highly aperiodic) and 4 (chaotic) signals. As such, using non-linear measures, which are better suited for aperiodic phonation, may be useful to investigate the relationship between acoustic signal characteristics and perception of esophageal voice quality.


      This study aimed to investigate whether nonlinear dynamic acoustic methods, nonlinear energy difference Ratio (NEDR) and spectrum convergence ratio (SCR), were correlated with perceptual measures in subjects who used esophageal phonation.


      Thirty-one subjects who had undergone total laryngectomy and use esophageal voice as a rehabilitation method were included in this study. Expert and non-expert raters listened to the esophageal voice samples from the subjects and rated vowels and connected speech samples on a scale from 1 to 7 on dysphonia severity and intelligibility. In addition, non-linear acoustic analysis was performed to calculate NEDR and SCR. Analysis from the raters was compared to the non-linear acoustic analysis to find the correlation between the variables.


      There were no significant correlations between any of the non-linear acoustic measures NEDR and SCR and the perceptual ratings at the significance level of 0.05. Correlations were calculated for each acoustic measure among the expert raters and among the non-expert raters in both connected speech samples and sustained vowel fragments.


      In conclusion, the nonlinear dynamic acoustic analyses of spectrum convergence ratio and nonlinear energy difference ratio do not have a significant correlation with perceptual measures of esophageal voice.

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