Year of Award

1984

Document Type

Thesis

College

College of Education and Allied Health

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Communication Disorders and Deaf Education

First Advisor

Dr. Robert A. Portnoy

Abstract

Speech pathologists are required to make perceptual judgments of the acoustic features of voice when diagnosing voice disorders. Research has not shown how reliably and validly speech pathologists can judge the dimensions of voice described as intensity, fundamental frequency, and quality. Five speech pathologists/teachers were asked to listen to ten voice samples. These ten samples were obtained by recording ten normal speakers producing the vowel "e" /i/ as steadily and as long as possible. The recordings were made in a sound treated room. Each sample's average fundamental frequency was measured with a Visi pitch. The intensity of each sample was measured with a sound level meter. The speech pathologists/teachers were asked to listen to each of the ten voice samples presented by playing the tape recorded voices through a cassette player and presented in the sound field of a sound treated room. A calibration tone was used to assure that the intensity remained stable and was not changed by the cassette player. Each speech pathologist was asked to record on a response sheet, the estimated fundamental frequency and average intensity of each voice sample. A Spearman Rank Order Correlation Coefficient was chosen as the test statistic for analysis of the results of the experiment. The results showed there was a positive correlation between listener judgment of fundamental frequency and quantitative measurement of fundamental frequency. However, two of the speech pathologist's judgments were near the range of the average? fundamental frequency for speech. There was no statistical correlation shown between listener judgment and quantitative measurement of intensity. However, comparison of the absolute intensity and individual speech pathologists' judgment revealed their estimates were within four to seventeen decibels of the quantitative measurement. No conclusion could be drawn from the results. Further research was called for using a sample of at least 30 speech pathologists. The specific amount of clinical and teaching experience involving voice or speech science was seen as a factor which could have influenced the results. Therefore, this information should be specified in future research involving perceptual judgment of the dimensions of voice.

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