Lídia Cristina da Silva Teles, Maria Inês Pegoraro-Krook
Departament of Speech pathology of Faculdade de Odontologia de Bauru, University of São Paulo
Al. Octávio Pinheiro Brisola 9-75, Bauru, Brazil
Marcos Kenned Magalhães
Departament of Eletric Engineering of Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos, University of São Paulo
Avenida Trabalhador São-carlense 400, São Carlos, Brazil
Keywords: Speech pathology, voice evaluation, phonetography, signal processing, database.
Abstract: The aim of this work was to create a software that, from the phonetography measures of elderly women,
generates the phonetogram, evaluates its area, vocal extension (VE), and the dynamic extension (DE) and
elaborates a database. The phonetography exams were carried out based on the European Phoniatrics Rules.
The software tools used for development were Delphi
and Paradox
. The results related to the voice
evaluation of elderly women compares favorably with the normal aging process. The software stores and
recovers the exams data as well as evaluates voice characteristics and presents graphical outputs in an
appropriate way.
The speech has its origin at the vocal folds level,
through the air flux coming from the lungs, passing
throughout the larynx constriction, the equalized by
the vocal tract and radiated by the lips (Boone and
McFarlane, 1994).
The voice exam only is complete when the sound
properties are stored and analised in some way
(Damsté, 1970).
The phonetography is a exam that allows to
evaluate both the frequency extension and dinamic
range for each frequency value. The result of this
method produce a graphic called phonetogram. This
exam allows to identify changes in the voice
associated with common pathological conditions to
verify the progression resulting from the vocal
therapy or simply to follow the voice development
of the individual (Damsté, 1970; Gramming, 1988;
Higgins and Saxman, 1991; and Teles-Magalhães,
Pegoraro-Krook and Pegoraro, 2000).
The rapid growth of elder population has brough
some concern in the last few decades. The concern is
more related to the added life in years than the added
years in the life (Leden, 1977). These considerations
bring some questions like : what is the vocal
extension of elderly people? What is the boundary
between aging and pathological conditions in the
vocal changes ?
Several papers about voice in the aging have
maked clear that there is a great interest in better
knowing the voice characteristics of this population.
So the effects of the age on the voice have to be
clearly defined in order to stablish the healthy range
of the voice characteristics.
The effects of the age on the vocal behavior
seems to be different in type and level for men and
women (Higgins et al., 1991). In this work just the
women voices are considered.
The informatic has auxilied the speech therapists
in their diagnosis efforts. Unfortunately, for the
phonetography case, the few softwares
commercially available do not present database
facilities or have prohibitive cost, making the
storage or recovery of data cumbersome.
Taking in account all this shortcomings, the
objective of this work was to elaborate a software
that from the measures of phonetography of elderly
women elaborates the phonetogram, evaluation of its
area, of the vocal extension (VE) and the dinamic
extension (DE) storing all this information in a
Cristina da Silva Teles L., Inês Pegoraro-Krook M. and Kenned Magalhães M. (2008).
In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing, pages 159-162
DOI: 10.5220/0001064601590162
2.1 Phonetography
Forty volunteers women from Bauru city, São Paulo
state participated of this work, aging from 60 to 84
years old (
=68,2 ± 5,74 years old). All of these
women were interviewed besides the submission of
perceptive and audiologic exams.
The exam procedures follow the standards proposed
by Shultte e Seidner (1993) and recommended by
the European Phoniatrics Union. Basically the
exams were issued in a acoustic room of the
Experimental Phonetic Laboratory of the Hospital de
Reabilitação de Anomalias Craniofaciais, of the São
Paulo University. A Casio Model CA-110,
miniorgan was used to generate the musical notes,
and an Entelbra 142 analogical sound level meter
(sound pressure level gauge) to obtain the intensity
2.2 Database Program
Equipment (hardware): one IBM-PC
presenting the
following characteristics: Pentium IV
(3.0 GHz), RAM memory 512 Kb, hard disk of 80
Gb and CD_ROM Creative
was used. The video
resolution was 800 x 600 pixels per inch. Also has
been used a HP Deskjet 692C.
Programs (software): the software was developed
in Windows XP
using Delphi
from Borland
Inprise Corporation (version 5.0) and Paradox
Paradox Corporation for the database.
2.3 Parameters Evaluated from
Vocal Extension evaluation: by using the
fundamental frequencies values (F
), in semitones
(st), it is applied the following formula:
EV = F
max – F
min (1)
EV = Vocal extension (st);
max = Maximum frequency (st) produced
by the individual;
min = Minimum frequency (st) produced
by the individual;
All evaluations related to the frequency are made
using semitones (st).
Dynamic Extension and Maximum Dynamic
Extension: after all obtained values for maximum
and minimum magnitude for each frequency to be
introduced, the following formula for dynamic
extension is applied:
DE = Int max – Int min (2)
DE = Dynamic extension (dB);
Int max = Higher magnitude (dB) produced by
the individual;
Int min = Lower magnitude (dB) produced by
the individual.
The maximum dynamic extension (MDE) is the
higher dynamic extension found among all tested
Phonetogram Area Evaluation: the area
evaluation follows the standard proposed by Shultte
e Seidner (1993). In order to evaluate the area the
following formula is used:
A = Area of the phonetogram (cm
Int max = Higher magnitude (dB) produced by
the individual;
Int min = Lower magnitude (dB) produced by
the individual;
St = Semitone where the maximum and
minimum magnitude were evaluated;
n = Number of elements (semitones) of the
3.1 Exam Data Evaluation
Related to the minimum frequencies, their values
varied from 110 Hz or 33 st to 220 Hz or 45 st. The
average value for minimum frequencies was 154 ±
24,98 Hz or 38,68 ± 2,80 st.
For the maximum frequencies of vocal extension,
the higher value was 659 Hz or 64 st, and the lower
value was 330 Hz or 52 st. The average value for the
maximum frequencies was 478,88 ± 56,11 Hz or
58,35 st ± 2,04 st for all sample.
BIOSIGNALS 2008 - International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing
For the vocal extension, the maximum value was
609 Hz and the lower was 172 Hz or 10 st, with
average of 324,05 ± 56,97 Hz or 19,70 ± 3,09 st.
The maximum dynamic estension (MDE) varied
from 16 to 43 dB. The average value found in the
sample was 29,08 ± 7,09 dB.
As far as the area of the phonetogram is concerned,
the lower area found was 162,0 or 7,3 cm2
and the higher area was 654,5 or 29,5 cm2.
The average value for this parameter considering all
the sample was 404,8 ± 135,1 corresponding
to 18,2 ± 6,1 cm2.
3.2 The Software
The computer program developed, that managing the
database of phonetography generating the
phontogram, is compose by eight modules for
diferents tasks:
Menu – this module shows all available options
of the program.
Patient schedule – This module contains all
information about the patient and, allows to include
or make alterations in the schedule.
Phonetography Schedule – The user can
manipulate the data related to phonetography
(frequency values (st) and magnitudes (dB)).
Through these values, the program can evaluates the
Vocal Extension (VE), the Maximum Dynamic
Extension (MDE) and the graphic area. Also,
protocols of palate evaluation, speech, voice and
larynx have been included in this module.
Phonetogram Comparisons – in this module,
comparisons between 2 or more (maximum 6)
phonetograms can be done. Any phonetogram can
be choose by the user from database.
Figure 1: Comparison between phonetograms.
Data Filter – this module allows the user to select
any specific class of patients. For example, it is
possible to select all patients from 50 to 55 years old
or all patients with a specific larynx dysfunction.
Printer Configuration – this module runs a
routine to configure the system printers.
Software Information – this module shows all
information related to the program.
End of Program – this module asks for the end
procedure and, through the confirmation, closes the
database and concludes the process.
4.1 Characteristics of Elderly Women
Certainly the advance of the age causes lower
performance of the biologic systems. Particularly,
the vocal behavior of women studied in this work
confirms the procedure of normal aging.
Considering the results, it can be observed that:
Vocal extension was expanded for low
Reduction of higher boundary of the vocal
Decreasing of the number of tones of vocal
Restriction of the boundaries of the minimum
Restriction of the boundaries of the maximum
Reduction of the maximum dynamic
Reduction of the phonetogram area;
Better control of the vocal magnitude at 262
Hz or 48 st, showing high vocal comfort at
this frequency.
4.2 Database Utilization
The easy use of the exam information of the
database has become a useful tool for the voice
specialist. The better flux information saves time
with schedule or data files in different places of the
hard disk.
The fast parameters evaluation, after the
frequency and magnitude data insertion, helps the
diagnosis. In many cases, the phonetogram area
evaluation can not be at the clinical practice because
demands a more complex mathematical formula.
The over plot facility makes the comparison
instantaneous. In this way, the comparison among
patients or even between pre and pos-therapy makes
the software an attractive tool. Also the visual
feedback can helps the patient to correct his vocal
In conclusion, this software is a potential
auxiliary tool for voice specialists by presenting
quantitative values of the voice and allowing
recording and comparing the voice at distinct times
of the rehabilitation procedure.
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BIOSIGNALS 2008 - International Conference on Bio-inspired Systems and Signal Processing