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Some experiments on the control of voice in the profoundly deaf using a pitch extractor and storage oscilloscope display

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1 Author(s)
Boothroyd, A. ; Clarke School for the Deaf, Northampton, Mass

A visual pitch display is described. This extracts fundamental frequency by low-pass filtering and displays frequency as a function of time on a storage oscilloscope. Three studies with deaf children are described. In the first it is found that the subjects have poor voluntary pitch control, despite generally good oral skills. In the second it is shown that simple pitch control can be learned quickly with the use of the visual display. However, traditional noninstrumental techniques are found to be almost as effective. In the third study, a profoundly deaf girl learns to control voice register and to generate acceptable intonation patterns within words and sentences. Unfortunately, this has no immediate effect on her everyday communicative speech. It is suggested that would-be designers of speech processing aids for the deaf should take note of two of the implications of these findings: 1) instrumental techniques may offer little or no advantage over properly applied traditional techniques for the teaching of certain skills; and 2) the process of modifying a child's communicative behavior is a complex one in which the technical aid has only a limited role to play. Unless use of the speech processing aid is incorporated in a meaningful way into an effective total program, its benefits are likely to be minimal.

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Audio and Electroacoustics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 3 )