Author(s): Linville SE, Rens J
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Abstract This study is the first to use long-term average spectra (LTAS) to investigate resonance characteristics of dynamic speech in young adulthood and old age. A total of 80 speakers participated, divided equally by age group and gender. All elderly speakers were healthy, active members of the community. Measurement of the first three spectral peaks in LTAS from the first paragraph of the Rainbow Passage revealed significant lowering of peak 1 from young adulthood to old age in both men and women. Peaks 2 and 3 also lowered significantly across the adult lifespan in women and showed a tendency to lower in men. These acoustic findings are consistent with anatomic data suggesting that aging results in lengthening of the supraglottic vocal tract. Findings that women demonstrate more substantial lowering of spectral peaks with aging than men suggest that women may undergo more pronounced age-related lengthening of the supraglottic vocal tract. Alternatively, it is possible that elderly men systematically alter tongue position during vowel articulation while elderly women are less inclined to do so. Taken in conjunction with previous research, these findings suggest a "mixed model" of vocal tract resonance changes with aging in which an interaction exists between gender, the resonance effects of laryngeal lowering, and vowel articulatory patterns.
This article was published in J Voice
and referenced in Journal of Phonetics & Audiology