Occupational speech users such as schoolteachers develop voice disorders at higher rates than the general population. Previous research has suggested that room acoustics may influence these trends. The research reported in this paper utilized varying acoustical conditions in a reverberant room to assess the effects on vocal parameters of healthy talkers. Thirty-two participants were recorded while completing a battery of speech tasks under eight room conditions. Vocal parameters were derived from the recordings and the statistically significant effects of room acoustics were verified using mixed-model analysis of variance tests. Changes in reverberation time (T20), early decay time (EDT), clarity index (C50), speech transmission index (STI), and room gain (GRG) all showed highly correlated effects on certain vocal parameters, including speaking level standard deviation, speaking rate, and the acoustic vocal quality index. As T20, EDT, and GRG increased, and as C50 and STI decreased, vocal parameters showed tendencies toward dysphonic phonation. Empirically derived equations are proposed that describe the relationships between select room-acoustic parameters and vocal parameters. This study provides an increased understanding of the impact of room acoustics on voice production, which could assist acousticians in improving room designs to help mitigate unhealthy vocal exertion and, by extension, voice problems.

1.
P.
Bottalico
,
S.
Graetzer
, and
E. J.
Hunter
, “
Effects of voice style, noise level, and acoustic feedback on objective and subjective voice evaluations
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
138
(
6
),
EL498
EL503
(
2015
).
2.
E. J.
Hunter
, “
A comparison of a child's fundamental frequencies in structured elicited vocalizations versus unstructured natural vocalizations: A case study
,”
Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol.
73
(
4
),
561
571
(
2009
).
3.
H.
Lane
and
B.
Tranel
, “
The Lombard sign and the role of hearing in speech
,”
J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res.
14
,
667
709
(
1971
).
4.
M.
Angelillo
,
G. D.
Maio
,
G.
Costa
,
N.
Angelillo
, and
U.
Barillari
, “
Prevalence of occupational voice disorders in teachers
,”
J. Prev. Med. Hyg.
50
(
1
),
26
32
(
2009
).
5.
N.
Roy
,
R. M.
Merrill
,
S.
Thibeault
,
S. D.
Gray
, and
E. M.
Smith
, “
Voice disorders in teachers and the general population: Effects on work performance, attendance, and future career choices
,”
J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res.
47
,
542
551
(
2004
).
6.
L. C.
Cantor Cutiva
and
A.
Burdorf
, “
Medical costs and productivity costs related to voice symptoms in colombian teachers
,”
J. Voice
29
(
6
),
776.e15
776.e22
(
2015
).
7.
D. R.
Morton
,
V.
Watson
, and
D. R.
Watson
, “
The impact of impaired vocal quality on children's ability to process spoken language
,”
Logop. Phoniatr. Voco.
26
(
1
),
17
25
(
2001
).
8.
J. W.
Black
, “
The effect of room characteristics upon vocal intensity and rate
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
22
(
2
),
174
–176 (
1950
).
9.
D.
Pelegrín-García
and
J.
Brunskog
, “
Speakers' comfort and voice level variation in classrooms: Laboratory research
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
132
(
1
),
249
–260 (
2012
).
10.
G. E.
Puglisi
,
A.
Astolfi
,
L. C.
Cantor Cutiva
, and
A.
Carullo
, “
Four-day-follow-up study on the voice monitoring of primary school teachers: Relationships with conversational task and classroom acoustics
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
141
(
1
),
441
452
(
2017
).
11.
P.
Bottalico
,
A.
Astolfi
, and
E. J.
Hunter
, “
Teachers' voicing and silence periods during continuous speech in classrooms with different reverberation times
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
141
(
1
),
EL26
EL31
(
2017
).
12.
P.
Bottalico
, “
Speech adjustments for room acoustics and their effects on vocal effort
,”
J. Voice
31
(
3
),
392.e1
392.e12
(
2017
).
13.
H. R.
Bosker
and
M.
Cooke
, “
Talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations when speaking in noise
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
143
(
2
),
EL121
EL126
(
2018
).
14.
G.
Fairbanks
, “
Selective vocal effects of delayed auditory feedback
,”
J. Speech Hear. Disorders
20
(
4
),
333
346
(
1955
).
15.
M.
Kob
,
A.
Kamprolf
,
C.
Neuschaefer-Rube
,
O.
Goldschmidt
, and
G.
Behler
, “
Experimental investigations of the influence of room acoustics on the teacher's voice
,”
Acoust. Sci. Technol.
29
(
1
),
86
94
(
2008
).
16.
B. M.
Shield
and
J. E.
Dockrell
, “
The effects of noise on children at school: A review
,”
Build. Acoust.
10
(
2
),
97
116
(
2003
).
17.
R. C.
Dreossi
and
T. M.
Momensohn-Santos
, “
Noise and its interference over students in a classroom environment: Literature review
,”
Pró-Fono R. Atual. Cient.
17
(
2
),
251
258
(
2005
).
18.
D. M.
Howard
and
J. A. S.
Angus
, “
Room acoustics: How they affect vocal production and perception
,” in
Occupational Voice: Care and Cure
, edited by
P.
Dejonckere
(
Kugler Publications
,
The Hague, The Netherlands
,
2001
), pp.
29
46
.
19.
L. L.
Doelle
,
Environmental Acoustics
(
McGraw-Hill Book Company
,
New York
,
1972
).
20.
ANSI S12.60-2010
:
American National Standard Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools, Part 1: Permanent Schools
(
American National Standards Institute
,
New York
,
2010
).
21.
ISO 354:2003(E)
:
Acoustics—Measurement of Sound Absorption in a Reverberation Room
(
International Organization for Standardization
,
Geneva, Switzerland
,
2003
).
22.
L.
Beranek
and
H.
Sleeper
, Jr.
, “
The design and construction of anechoic sound chambers
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
18
(
1
),
140
150
(
1946
).
23.
ANSI S12.2-1995
,
American National Standard Criteria for Evaluating Room Noise
(
American National Standards Institute
,
New York
,
1995
).
24.
M.
Long
,
Architectural Acoustics
(
Elsevier Academic Press
,
Waltham, MA
,
2014
), Chaps. 3 and 7.
25.
L.
Beranek
,
Concert Halls and Opera Houses: Music, Acoustics, and Architecture
(
Springer
,
New York
,
2004
), Chap. 4 and Appendix 1.
26.
ISO 3382-1:2009(E)
:
Acoustics—Measurement of Room Acoustic Parameters – Part 1: Performance Spaces
(
International Organization for Standardization
,
Geneva, Switzerland
,
2009
).
27.
ISO 3382-2:2008(E)
:
Acoustics—Measurement of Room Acoustic Parameters—Part 2: Reverberation Time in Ordinary Rooms
(
International Organization for Standardization
,
Geneva, Switzerland
,
2008
).
28.
W.
Ahnert
and
H.-P.
Tennhardt
, “
Room-acoustical fundamentals for auditoriums and concert halls
,” in
Handbook for Sound Engineers
, edited by
Glen M.
Ballou
(
Focal Press
,
Burlington, MA
,
2015
), Sec. 9.2.
29.
IEC 60268-16:2011
:
Sound System Equipment – Part 16: Objective Rating of Speech Intelligibility by Speech Transmission Index
(
International Electrotechnical Commission, for Electrotechnical Standardization
,
Geneva, Switzerland
,
2011
).
30.
D.
Pelegrín-García
,
J.
Brunskog
,
V.
Lyberg-Åhlander
, and
A.
Löfqvist
, “
Measurement and prediction of voice support and room gain in school classrooms
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
131
(
1
),
194
204
(
2012
).
31.
T.
Halkosaari
,
M.
Vaalgamaa
, and
M.
Karjalainen
, “
Directivity of artificial and human speech
,”
J. Audio Eng. Soc.
53
(
7/8
),
620
631
(
2005
).
32.
J.
Whiting
, “
Development of a real-time auralization system for assessment of vocal effort in virtual-acoustic environments
,” Master's thesis,
Brigham Young University
, Provo, UT, 2018, Chap. 3.
33.
D.
Nutter
, “
Sound absorption and sound power measurements in reverberation chambers using energy density methods
,” Master's thesis,
Brigham Young University
, Provo, UT,
2006
.
34.
J. S.
Bradley
, “
Review of objective room acoustics measures and future needs
,”
Appl. Acoust.
72
(
10
),
713
720
(
2011
).
35.
S.
Rollins
, “
Acoustics of the Salt Lake Tabernacle: Characterization and study of spatial variation
,” Master's thesis,
Brigham Young University
, Provo, UT,
2005
.
36.
G.
Fairbanks
,
Voice and Articulation Drillbook
(
Harper & Row
,
New York
,
1960
).
37.
D.
Crystal
,
Prosodic Systems and Intonation in English
(
Cambridge University Press
,
Cambridge, UK
,
1976
), pp.
152
156
.
38.
Y.
Maryn
and
D.
Weenink
, “
Objective dysphonia measures in the program Praat: Smoothed cepstral peak prominence and acoustic voice quality index
,”
J. Voice
29
(
1
),
35
43
(
2015
).
39.
Y.
Maryn
,
P.
Corthals
,
P.
Van Cauwenberge
,
N.
Roy
, and
M.
De Bodt
, “
Toward improved ecological validity in the acoustic measurement of overall voice quality: Combining continuous speech and sustained vowels
,”
J. Voice
24
(
5
),
540
555
(
2010
).
40.
F.
Núñez-Batalla
,
E.
Díaz-Fresno
,
A.
Álvarez-Fernández
,
G. M.
Cordero
, and
J. L. L.
Pendás
, “
Application of the acoustic voice quality index for objective measurement of dysphonia severity
,”
Acta Otorrinolaringol.
68
(
4
),
204
211
(
2017
).
41.
A.
Camacho
and
J. G.
Harris
, “
A sawtooth waveform inspired pitch estimator for speech and music
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
124
(
3
),
1638
–1652 (
2008
).
42.
A.
Mcallister
,
E.
Sederholm
, and
J.
Sundberg
, “
Perceptual and acoustic analysis of vocal registers in 10-year-old children
,”
Logop. Phoniatr. Voco.
25
(
2
),
63
71
(
2000
).
43.
T.
Letowski
,
T.
Frank
, and
J.
Caravella
, “
Acoustical properties of speech produced in noise presented through supra-aural earphones
,”
Ear Hear.
14
(
5
),
332
338
(
1993
).
44.
P.
Bottalico
,
S.
Graetzer
, and
E. J.
Hunter
, “
Effects of speech style, room acoustics, and vocal fatigue on vocal effort
,”
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
139
(
5
),
2870
2879
(
2016
).
45.
V.
Reynolds
,
A.
Buckland
,
J.
Bailey
,
J.
Lipscombe
,
E.
Nathan
,
S.
Vijayasekaran
,
R.
Kelly
,
Y.
Maryn
, and
N.
French
, “
Objective assessment of pediatric voice disorders with the acoustic voice quality index
,”
J. Voice.
26
(
5
),
627.e1
627.e7
(
2012
).
You do not currently have access to this content.