Lombard Effect in Alaryngeal Speakers
For late-stage laryngeal cancer patients, when other invention options fail, total laryngectomy is often used as the last resort to remove the pathological larynx (voice box). Due to the loss of their phonatory apparatus during the procedure, they need to learn to use an alternative speaking method (known as alaryngeal phonation) in order to regain verbal communication. To update, four alaryngeal speaking methods are available: esophageal speech, tracheoesophageal speech, electrolaryngeal speech, and pneumatic artificial laryngeal speech.
Research revealed that, regardless of type, alaryngeal speech are associated with reduced intelligibility and, particularly for esophageal and electrolaryngeal speech, diminished loudness. Patients’ ability to speak more loudly becomes an important aspect of speech rehabilitation.
Imagine talking with someone in a noisy cocktail party. It is very natural that you will automatically raise your voice in order to be heard by your friend(s). This process is known as the Lombard effect. This is unconscious and done unnoticed, and how much you raise your voice seems to depend on the level of the background noise. That is, the louder the background is, the more loudly you will speak.
The present study attempts to make use of the Lombard effect to help alaryngeal speakers speak more loudly. We measured their vocal output when they are exposed to loud background noise at 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, and 100 dB SPL (white noise). Preliminary findings indicate that they are able to raise their vocal output by varying amounts.
It is expected that, in the future, this strategy can be used to enhance their vocal output and used as a biofeedback to improve their intelligibility.
Respiratory Muscle Strength Training (RMST) in Professional Singers
Breath support is considered a crucial component in singing. Yet, the physiology of singing is quite different from ordinary (tidal) breathing at rest. The difference mainly originates from the different respiratory levels required by tidal breathing and singing. Whereas tidal breathing requires one to inhale up to about 40% of his/her vital capacity, it is not uncommon for a singer to inhale beyond 70% of his/her vital capacity. Breath support is apparently important for professional singers; their singing performance could be improved greatly by strengthening their breath support. This could be achieved by strengthening respiratory muscles through respiratory muscle strength training (RMST).
Despite the number of previous studies examining effect of such training on respiratory support, effects of RMST on singers are still inconclusive. To address this knowledge gap, the study attempts to evaluate the true effect of RMST on singing. Specifically, it aims to investigate: (1) the immediate effect of RMST on singers in terms of pulmonary, aerodynamic and acoustic measures right after the training; and (2) the possible maintenance effect of RMST on general singers in terms of pulmonary, aerodynamic and acoustic measures one month after the training.
Cantonese English accent reduction and native-like accent enhancement characterization and training for primary school students and English teachers.