BME PhD Prospectus Defense - Yu-An S. Lien

12:00 pm on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
44 Cummington Mall, Room 203
Prof. Cara E. Stepp, Biomedical Engineering & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (Advisor, Chair)
Prof. H. Steven Colburn, Biomedical Engineering
Prof. Melanie L. Matthies, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Prof. Frank Guenther, Biomedical Engineering & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Title: “Optimization and automation of relative fundamental frequency for objective assessment of vocal hyperfunction”

The project objective is to improve clinical assessment and diagnosis of the voice disorder, vocal hyperfunction (VH). VH is a condition characterized by excessive laryngeal and paralaryngeal tension, and accounts for up to nearly half of cases referred to multidisciplinary voice clinics. Current clinical assessment of VH is subjective and demonstrates poor inter-rater reliability. Recent work indicates that a new acoustic measure, relative fundamental frequency (RFF) is sensitive to the maladaptive functional behaviors associated with VH and can potentially be used to objectively characterize VH.
The research goal is to explore and improve the potential for RFF as a measure of VH in three ways. First, the current protocol for RFF estimation will be optimized to simplify the recording procedure and reduce estimation time. Second, RFF will be compared with the current state-of-the-art measures of VH – listener perception of vocal effort and the ratio of sound pressure level to subglottal pressure level. Third, automated algorithms that utilize the optimized recording protocol will be developed and validated against manual estimation methods and listener perception.