Acoustical Society of America Meeting 182

I (Thea) am in Denver for the week at the Acoustical Society of America Meeting. I’ll be presenting a continuation of our speech-in-masks work, this time reporting acoustic findings of the effects of masks and clear and loud speaking styles on the speech of talkers with Parkinson’s disease.

Knowles & Badh 2022

This work extends our findings on young healthy talkers which was published recently in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. As we found with the healthy talkers, masks attenuated higher frequency components of speech (as measured via spectral moments, spectral tilt, and mid-range frequencies measured from the long-term average spectra of read utterances). This attenuation effect was consistent across habitual, clear, and loud speech styles and across two speaker groups: older healthy adults and people with Parkinson’s disease. Speaking more clearly, followed by more loudly, resulted in relative amplification of these higher frequencies & compensating for the effects of the masks, and this was also the case for talkers with and without Parkinson’s. However, overall, talkers with Parkinson’s also had lower concentrations of higher frequency components of their speech to begin with. Previous literature suggests this pattern correlates with poorer perceived speech severity, intelligibility, and loudness in Parkinson’s. While speaking more clearly or loudly improved these spectral speech properties, masks limited the gains made by talkers with Parkinson’s because of their lower baseline. We discuss the results in the context of perceptual consequences and possible remediation strategies.

Selected References

Atcherson, S. R., McDowell, B. R., & Howard, M. P. (2021). Acoustic effects of non-transparent and transparent face coverings. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 149(4), 2249–2254.

Adams, S. G., & Dykstra, A. D. (2009). Hypokinetic dysarthria. In M. R. McNeil (Ed.), Clinical management of sensorimotor speech disorders. Thieme Publishing Group.

Corey, R. M., Jones, U., & Singer, A. C. (2020). Acoustic effects of medical, cloth, and transparent face masks on speech signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(4), 2371.

Cushnie-Sparrow, D. A. (2021). Modelling loudness: Acoustic and perceptual correlates in the context of hypophonia in Parkinson’s disease [Doctoral dissertation, Western University]. ProQuest Di

Goldin, A., Weinstein, B., & Shiman, N. (2020). How Do Medical Masks Degrade Speech Reception? Hearing Review, 27(5), 8–9.

Gutz, S., Rowe, H., & Green, J. (2021). Speaking with a KN95 Face Mask: ASR Performance and Speaker Compensation. Proceedings of Interspeech 2021, 4798–4802.

Knowles, T., & Badh, G. (2022). The impact of face masks on spectral acoustics of speech: Effectof clear and loud speech styles. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 11.

Maryn, Y., Wuyts, F. L., & Zarowski, A. (2021). Are Acoustic Markers of Voice and Speech Signals Affected by Nose-and-Mouth-Covering Respiratory Protective Masks? Journal of Voice, S0892199721000370.

Smiljanic, R. (2021). Clear Speech Perception. In The Handbook of Speech Perception (pp. 177–205). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ternström, S., Bohman, M., & Södersten, M. (2006). Loud speech over noise: Some spectral attributes, with gender differences. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(3), 1648–1665.