Recent Research Projects

Lombard Effect on Alaryngeal Speech

Total laryngectomy is the surgical procedure of removing a pathological larynx, usually for late stage laryngeal cancer patients. The surgery removes the voice box, leaving the patient unable to speak. Learning to speak again with an alternative method (known as alaryngeal speech) therefore becomes an important part of post-laryngectomy rehabilitation. They are the esophageal (SE), tracheoesophageal (TE), electrolaryngeal (EL) and pneumatic artificial laryngeal speech.

Research studies reveal that electrolaryngeal speech and esophageal speech are generally associated with a reduced loudness, that commonly lead to a lower speech intelligibility. Researchers believe that intelligibility could be improved if loudness can be elevated.

The study aimed to examine if alaryngeal speakers are able to produce speech with a louder voice if they are exposed to a noisy background condition, known a the Lombard Effect. The study examined alaryngeal output intensity associated with different background noise levels: 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 dBSPL. Preliminary findings indicate the alaryngeal speakers could produce a louder speech when speaking under a white noise.

English vowel production by Cantonese-English bilingual speakers