A Portable Voice Volume Monitor

LSU Reference: 1040

Inventors:

Status:

  • Under patent prosecution

Description:

The inability to regulate ones voice volume often results in severe communication problems and damage to the vocal cords.  Behavioral therapy, a conventional treatment for vocal intensity-related speech disorders, requires attending multiple sessions with a speech therapist. Many patients demonstrate improvements in voice quality in the clinical setting, but these improvements do not always translate once the patient is outside of the clinic. While some treatment programs provide patients with a hand-held feedback device for home practice, continual monitoring outside the home is burdensome with these devices.  As a result, some patients revert to their pre-therapy speaking voice once outside of the clinic.  The patient’s inability to apply the vocal skills learned in therapy to all conversation environments could result in the recurrence of vocal fold lesions or continued speech intelligibility problems, and therefore, the need for further therapy.

LSU researchers have invented an inexpensive, portable, lightweight voice volume monitor device that can be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy, to aid the generalization of skills learned at the clinic and to speed up the rehabilitation process. This device measures the vocal intensity of the user and provides real-time feedback so he/she can adjust the volume of his/her voice to be situation appropriate.  This device is useful for treating patients who have vocal intensity-related speech disorders such those associated with Parkinson’s disease and vocal abuse.  It is also useful for lecturers, announcers, actors, or singers as they learn to regulate their voice intensity or as a continual monitor to ensure their voice volume is appropriate.  As a therapeutic aid, this light weight and portable device can be used in a clinical setting as well as by a patient while going about his routine daily activities. A prototype is currently being tested as a therapeutic tool to treat speech disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease and vocal abuse.

 

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