Spectral moments of the long-term average spectrum: Sensitive indices of voice change after therapy?


Voice clinicians require an objective, reliable, and relatively automatic method to assess voice change after medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention. This measure must be sensitive to a variety of voice qualities and severities, and preferably should reflect voice in continuous speech. The long-term average spectrum (LTAS) is a fast Fourier transform-generated power spectrum whose properties can be compared with a Gaussian bell curve using spectral moments analysis. Four spectral moments describe features of the LTAS: Spectral mean (Moment 1) and standard deviation (Moment 2) represent the spectrum's central tendency and dispersion, respectively. Skewness (based on Moment 3) and kurtosis (based on Moment 4) represent the spectrum's tilt and peakedness, respectively. To examine whether the first four spectral moments of the LTAS were sensitive to perceived voice improvement after voice therapy, this investigation compared pretreatment and posttreatment voice samples of 93 patients with functional dysphonia using spectral moments analysis. Inspection of the results revealed that spectral mean and standard deviation lowered significantly with perceived voice improvement after successful behavioral management (p < 0.001). However, changes in skewness and kurtosis were not significant. Furthermore, lowering of the spectral mean uniquely accounted for approximately 14% of the variance in the pretreatment to posttreatment changes observed in perceptual ratings of voice severity (p < 0.001), indicating that spectral mean (ie, Moment 1) of the LTAS may be one acoustic marker sensitive to improvement in dysphonia severity. © 2005 The Voice Foundation.

Publication Title

Journal of Voice