Every year, many thousands of people worldwide lose the ability to speak due to receiving a laryngectomy, typically for treatment of cancer. At some point in their recovery, most will use an electrolarynx to recover their ability to speak. Typical electrolarynxes utilize a piston to strike a disc pressed to the patient's neck which delivers a pressure wave into the soft tissue. This pressure wave mechanically couples with the vocal tract and generates the fundamental frequency necessary for creating vowels without which speech is not possible.
Commonly available electrolarynxes suffer from poor frequency control due to the nonlinear character of their impulse driver. They also create a great deal of "self-noise" which is distracting to listeners and makes using voice communication systems difficult.
We propose a novel electrolarynx implementation which utilizes two interfering ultrasonic waves to generate a fundamental frequency in the vocal tract required for speech restoration. The device is light weight, compact, inexpensive, and offers excellent control of all aspects of the output waveform. In addition, as the primary waveforms are above human hearing, there is little "self-noise" that can be heard by listeners and most communications devices filter such noise as part of their standard digitization process.
This device offers the potential to greatly improve the lives of those who have lost their voices and must rely on technology to allow them to communicate in the most efficient manner.
|Advisor:||Zara, Jason M.|
|Commitee:||Kay, Matthew, Nagel, David J., Plesniak, Michael W., Sadeghi, Nader|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Speech therapy, Biomedical engineering, Acoustics|
|Keywords:||Beat frequency, Difference waves, Electrolarynx, Laryngectomy, Speech restoration, Ultrasound|
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