Making the computer work for us…

A fun little video capture of Dr. Hunter’s office computer this morning…  leaving it to work while he went to some meetings.

Analysis of Speech


Thought for the Day

The NCAA recently mourned the loss of Pat Summitt, whose 1,098 career wins are the most in NCAA basketball history. Some great passages can be found in her book, Sum It Up, her memoir written after she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

A couple of strong quotes to share:

Too many people opt out and never discover their own abilities, because they fear failure. They don’t understand commitment. When you learn to keep fighting in the face of potential failure, it gives you a larger skill set to do what you want to do in life. It gives you vision.


All my life, I had preached “taking ownership” to athletes. I insisted they commit to their talent and to themselves, not just by working at the things they were good at, but by admitting the things they weren’t good at. It was a difficult, counterintuitive thing to teach–no one feels strong when she examines her own weakness. But in facing weakness, you learn how much there is in you, and you find a blueprint for real strength. Don’t look away from the difficult things, I urged our athletes. “Take ownership!” When you own something, you possess it, live it, act on it.

Lung Function Research Made the News

V-BAL research has been picked up by the press. Specifically, several media outlets have picked up on our discovery of a potential link between pulmonary function and the symptoms of voice fatigue unique to women. Our study proposes a common, simple, low-cost tool that could aid medical experts in detecting potential voice fatigue at an early stage, which would help teachers to better prevent and treat voice problems. It will be presented this week at the 171th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held in Salt Lake City.

The higher incidence of prolonged problems among women has been associated with a number of gender differences including physiological differences in the laryngeal system, differences in the endocrine system, and differences in pulmonary usage. . . . Our study is the first to connect voice fatigue problems with gender-based physiological differences in lung functions, pointing to respiratory function as a source of the gender inequality in voice problems.

The big lesson that I always take away from write-ups on my research is the importance of taking media’s write-ups of science with a grain of salt. While much of what was written about this study was great, there were also quite of few inaccuracies.

The picture used by the write-up in The Daily Mail, apparently the second biggest selling daily newspaper in the UK, is quite humorous. However, one of the lab members suggested that it could perhaps color the readers’ reading of the story–what do you think?

Voice injuries to teachers cost an estimated $2.5bn (£1.7bn) a year, potentially harming students' education
Credit: The Daily Mail

Look for the publication of this research in the next few months.


CAS Highlights Dr. E’s Award

Dr. E’s appointment as a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America has been recognized in a recent article.

The honors of the ASA is a very big deal,” said Dimitar Deliyski, Chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. “This is one of the highest tokens of appreciation from a worldwide organization, which has been highly respected for nearly 100 years.

V-BAL Presentations at MSHA

V-BAL members made a showing at the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference held in Grand Rapids this week.


The following presentations were made (with some picture highlights):

  • “Accurately Portraying the Starting Point of the Lombard Effect”
    Presenters: Emily Wilson, Callan Gavigan, Pasquale Bottalico, Simone Graetzer, and Eric J. Hunter


  • “Acoustic Characteristics of CSD Clinical Rooms and the Virtual Classroom at Michigan State University”
    Presenters: Nicole Jakubik, Jason Wu, Simone Graetzer, Pasquale Bottalico, Brad Rakerd, and Eric J. Hunter
  • “Acoustic Characteristics of CSD Research Laboratories and Recording Environments at Michigan State University.”
    Presenters: Jason Wu, Nicole Jakubik, Simone Graetzer, Pasquale Bottalico, Brad Rakerd, Eric J. Hunter
  • “Changes in Speech Breathing During Late Adulthood”
    Presenters: Laney Roehl, Alyssa Rollins, Callan Gavigan, Pasquale Bottalico, Simone Graetzer, and Eric J. Hunter

Changes in Speech Breathing

  • “Effects of Social Stress on Speech”
    Presenters: Callan Gavigan, Alyssa Rollins, Nicole Jakubik, Emily Wilson, Simone Graetzer, Pasquale Bottalico, and Eric J. Hunter


  • “Objective Measures Following Thyroplasty”
    Presenters: Collin Potter, Mark Berardi, and Eric J. Hunter


  • “Pitch Accuracy in Relationship to External and Internal Auditory Feedback”
    Presenters: Mark Berardi, Pasquale Bottalico, Simone Graetzer, and Eric J. Hunter
  • “Second Formant Transitions in Stuttering Persistence and Recovery”
    Presenters: Gregory J. Spray, Soo-Eun Chang, Eric J. Hunter, Jacob M. Nitzkin, and Mark Berardi

Spray 1

  • “Various Speech Acoustic Parameters in Stuttering Persistence and Recovery”
    Presenters: Gregory J. Spray, Mark Berardi, Soo-Eun Chang, and Eric J. Hunter

A lot of hard work went into these presentations–good job!


Geek Alert: Pee-Yoo

Here’s some research that (thankfully!) no members of our V-BAL lab is working on right now.

To get to the root of body odor, you have to start with sweat. But human sweat by itself typically barely smells at all. “The problem is that bacteria living on our body like to eat some of the compounds that come out in our sweat,” says … Sarah Everts…. Eccrine glands, all over the body, and apocrine glands, found mostly in the armpit and genital areas, secrete various compounds that are consumed by bacteria, which in turn release molecules with a smell we recognize as body odor.

Congratulations, Dr. E

Dr. E has been appointed to the University Committee on Academic Governance. This committee (from the handbook):

serves as the nominating committee for governance positions, for at-large steering committee members, UCGA members, and advisory committees. It is responsible for preparing motions for submission of governance by-law updates, monitoring the by-laws to be sure they are current, reviewing college by-laws and makes recommendations regarding University Council and Faculty Senate election procedures.

Here’s a flowchart with more information on University structure than you may every need (or want) to know.


V-BAL Will Make a Showing at ASA

Members of the V-BAL will make a strong showing at the ASA Conference in Salt Lake City in May.  In addition to Dr. E being formally inducted as an ASA Fellow, V-BAL members will give 10 podium presentations and posters. We are proud of your hard work, which has led to such great success. Keep up the good work!

  1. “Assessment of the Starting Point of the Lombard Effect.”  (poster)
  2. “Construction Noise Impact on Wild Birds.”  (podium presentation)
  3. “Gender Differences and Speech Accommodation in Occupational Settings.” (invited podium)
  4. “A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Aging on Speech Breathing: Evidence of Decreased Expiratory Volume in Speech Recordings.” (poster)
  5. “Pitch Control in Professional and Amateur Singers.” (podium presentation)
  6. “Spectral-normalization Filter for Subjective Analysis of the Aging Voice.” (poster)
  7. “Speech Accommodation to Room Acoustics: Reverberation Time and Clarity.” (podium presentation)
  8. “Speech Produced in Noise: Relationship between Listening Difficulty and Spectral and Durational Parameters.” (poster)
  9. “Time Dose and Fundamental Frequency of Male and Female Speakers in Different Style and Reverberation Times.” (poster)
  10. “Vocal Dosimeter Devices and Their Uncertainty.” (poster)


Congrats, Dr. Pasquale

Dr. Pasquale will present 2 papers at the upcoming Euorregio 2016 Conference (with the 9th Iberian Acoustics Congress, 47th Spanish Congress on Acoustics TECNIACUSTICA® 2016).

  • Bottalico P, Graetzer S, and Hunter EJ. (June 2016). “Speech Level Adjustment to Reverberation Time and Early Reflections.” EuroRegio2016/9th Iberian Acoustics Congress/47th Spanish Congress on Acoustics TECNIACUSTICA® 2016. Portugal.
  • Bottalico P, Ipsaro Passione I, Graetzer S, and Hunter EJ. (June 2016). “Lombard Effect and Its Relationship with Noise Disturbance and Vocal Discomfort.” EuroRegio2016/9th Iberian Acoustics Congress/47th Spanish Congress on Acoustics TECNIACUSTICA® 2016. Portugal.