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J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Apr;119(4):2363-71.

Vocal responses to unanticipated perturbations in voice loudness feedback: an automatic mechanism for stabilizing voice amplitude.

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-0413, USA.


The present study tested whether subjects respond to unanticipated short perturbations in voice loudness feedback with compensatory responses in voice amplitude. The role of stimulus magnitude (+/- 1,3 vs 6 dB SPL), stimulus direction (up vs down), and the ongoing voice amplitude level (normal vs soft) were compared across compensations. Subjects responded to perturbations in voice loudness feedback with a compensatory change in voice amplitude 76% of the time. Mean latency of amplitude compensation was 157 ms. Mean response magnitudes were smallest for 1-dB stimulus perturbations (0.75 dB) and greatest for 6-dB conditions (0.98 dB). However, expressed as gain, responses for 1-dB perturbations were largest and almost approached 1.0. Response magnitudes were larger for the soft voice amplitude condition compared to the normal voice amplitude condition. A mathematical model of the audio-vocal system captured the main features of the compensations. Previous research has demonstrated that subjects can respond to an unanticipated perturbation in voice pitch feedback with an automatic compensatory response in voice fundamental frequency. Data from the present study suggest that voice loudness feedback can be used in a similar manner to monitor and stabilize voice amplitude around a desired loudness level.

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