Shifting Perceptions of Age in Voice
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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida, Gainesville
While the elderly population increases worldwide, the effect of the
changes are perceived by listeners, is poorly understood. It is vital
for clinical purposes to understand the normal aging process for
speech production in order to evaluate speech disorders in the
syllables, words, etc.) and other indexical properties (e.g., token
characteristics, speaker identity, gender) in long-term memory. A
incorporate speaker age.
A number of physiological changes to the vocal tract have been
identified or suggested in prior research:
Lengthening of the vocal tract or oral cavity: Endres, Bambach,
and Flosser, 1971; Xue and Hao (2003).
and Jackson, 1966.
Laryngeal cartilage ossification: Kahane (1987).
Increased stiffening of vocal folds (particularly in males): Honjo
and Isshiki (1980); Kahane (1980, 1981, 1983 1987).
Reduced closure of vocal folds (particularly in males): Yumoto,
Sasaki, and Okamura (1984); Ferrand (2002); Linville (2002).
These physiological changes have, in turn, been used to predict
acoustic correlates to aging in voices, including:
Mean fundamental frequency, henceforth f0, (higher in older
Hollien, 1963; Hollien and Shipp, 1972; Mueller, 1985; Higgins