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Speaker Abstracts

Greta Öhlund Wistbacka

Greta Öhlund Wistbacka

Professional title: Senior lecturer, PhD
Workplaces: Uppsala University, Åbo Akademi University
Phone number: +46-73-5130317


Speakers’ comfort in simulated room acoustic environments – sex and age differences

Vocal problems are common among workers in voice demanding occupations. For sustaining vocal health, it is important to find efficient ways to reduce strain on the voice at work. One way to do so is optimizing the room acoustics for communication. However, we do not know enough about what kind of room acoustic conditions that support voice and speech most efficiently, and if talkers of different ages and sex have different room acoustic needs. The purpose of this project was to investigate how different acoustic environments affect voice and speech in men and women aged 20-72.

An experimental set-up was developed for acoustic and visual simulation of different room conditions, using real-time auralization of a speaker’s own voice in a 64-loudspeaker array in an anechoic room combined with virtual reality. Room conditions varied in room size, reverberation time and the speaker-oriented room acoustic parameters voice support and room gain. Preliminary results show that men adapt their voice levels more to changes in acoustic conditions compared to women. No effect of age was identified. These results show that male and female talkers respond differently to room acoustic conditions, which suggest that they might not benefit equally from room acoustic improvements.