The Vox Senes project: a study of segmental changes and rhythm variations on European Portuguese aging voice
The process of aging is generally associated with a number of changes in physiological, cognitive, psychological and social domains, including modifications on vocal quality of individuals. This paper presents a recent project -VoxSenes -that intends to bridge knowledge gaps in the speech changes due to aging. A deeper knowledge on how speech changes with age is essential for the development of automatic speech recognition systems suitable for older's voices and for clinical assessment of
... disorders. The VoxSenes project aims to study aging voice at segmental and suprasegmental level. The variation of acoustic parameters were analysed through audio speech samples and articulatory parameters were investigated over ultrasound tongue imaging. The most relevant age-related results of this project include: an increase in vowel duration, an approximation of F0 between genders, a centralization of the acoustic vowel space for males and an increase in speech pauses. The unsupervised method already developed to extract tongue contours from ultrasound tongue images provides the required data for an automatic analysis of relevant parameters to assess speech changes on vowel production. An analysis of articulatory space of European Portuguese vowels is ongoing for speakers of different age groups, as well as a longitudinal study of age-related changes in speech rhythm.