Participatory enquiry for a bionic voice

Martin Hagmüller, Anna Katharina Fuchs, Corinna Bath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


People who have lost their larynx and thus speech functionality need a substitution voice to regain speech. Three main approaches exist, all of which have severe disadvantages. Previously, we have been working on improving the state-of-the-art for an electronic speaking aid. The current stage of our project has a special focus on a gender appropriate voice for laryngectomised speakers. To better understand the needs of the potential users of a bionic voice we adopted a participatory inquiry that involved interaction with 17 people without a larynx, of which 9 were female. All common substitution voices were used in the test sample. We spent between 1.5 and 6 hours with the individuals per session and had one to four visits. We learned that for all of them a natural voice is important. Most of the laryngectomees reject the use of a speaking aid, because of its bad sound. Women were specifically against the speaking aid. Desired properties of a bionic voice were an assertive voice, a voice matching ones personality. Women want to be recognized as female and have an attractive voice. They suffer from the low fundamental frequency of all substitution voices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Workshop Models and analysis of vocal emissions for biomedical applications
EditorsClaudia Manfredi
PublisherFirenze University Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-6453-607-1
ISBN (Print)978-88-6453-606-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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