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Low bit-rate speech codecs have been widely used in audio communications like VoIP and mobile communications, so that steganography in low bit-rate audio streams would have broad applications in practice. In this paper, the authors propose a new algorithm for steganography in low bit-rate VoIP audio streams by integrating information hiding into the process of speech encoding. The proposed algorithm performs data embedding while pitch period prediction is conducted during low bit-rate speech encoding, thus maintaining synchronization between information hiding and speech encoding. The steganography algorithm can achieve high quality of speech and prevent detection of steganalysis, but also has great compatibility with a standard low bit-rate speech codec without causing further delay by data embedding and extraction. Testing shows, with the proposed algorithm, the data embedding rate of the secret message can attain 4 bits/frame (133.3 bits/second).