Perceptual Judgment of Voice Quality in Nondysphonic French Speakers: Effect of Task-, Speaker- and Listener-Related Variables

Véronique Delvaux, Claire Pillot-Loiseau
Journal of Voice 2019 March 25

PURPOSE: Several perceptual scales have been developed to assess voice quality in dysphonic voices, among which the Grade Roughness Breathiness Asthenia Strain and a Rate of Dysphonia scale is probably the most frequently used. However, this clinical tool has not been properly validated with a normophonic population yet. The aim of the present study was to provide a first set of reference data gathered from a normal population, to serve as a basis of comparison for vocologists and laryngologists working with French-speaking patients. A second goal was to investigate the influence on this normal voice dataset, of variables known to affect perceptual judgments of pathological voice.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sustained vowels and sentences produced by 80 healthy, normophonic French native speakers were perceptually assessed by a panel of 18 raters (nine students, nine experts) using the Grade Roughness Breathiness Asthenia Strain and a Rate of Dysphonia scale.

RESULTS: The average overall grade was close to 1 on the (0 to 3) scale, questioning the notion of "normal" voice as opposed to dysphonic voice. Rating reliability as well as perceptual scores were affected by task-, speaker-, and listener-related factors: speech stimuli led to better rating reliability and were judged less severely than voice stimuli; experts were slightly more reliable and less severe than students; older speakers were unanimously considered as more dysphonic. Multiple interactions between these factors were observed, confirming the multidimensional nature of voice quality.

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