Estimation of Sound Pressure Levels of Voiced Speech from Skin Vibration of the Neck

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How accurately can sound pressure levels (SPLs) of speech be estimated from skin vibration of the neck? Measurements using a small accelerometer were carried out in 27 subjects (10 males and 17 females) who read Rainbow and Marvin Williams passages in soft, comfortable, and loud voice, while skin acceleration levels (SALs) and SPLs were simultaneously registered and analyzed every 30 ms. The results indicate that the mean SPL of voiced speech can be estimated with accuracy better than ±2.8 dB in 95% of the cases when the subjects are individually calibrated. This makes the accelerometer an interesting sensor for SPL measurement of speech when microphones are problematic to use (e.g., noisy environments or in voice dosimetry). The estimates of equivalent SPL, which is the logarithm of averaged relative energy of voiced speech, were found to be up to 1.5 dB less accurate than the mean SPL. The estimation accuracy for instantaneous SPLs was worse than for the mean and equivalent SPLs (on average ±6 and ±5 dB for males and females, respectively).



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