Listener preference for the Aurex Electric larynx or the Western Electric larynx

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Girdler, Deborah K.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology
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According to the American Cancer Society, there will be approximately 7,000 people who will need a total laryngectomy operation this year. This operation is the surgical removal of the entire larynx due to cancer. The person who has had his larynx surgically removed is called a laryngectomee. The 7,000 laryngectomees will need some form of voice to talk with once their vocal cords have been removed. While there are a number of speech options available after the operation, this paper will deal with only one of these options: the electronic artificial larynx device.The goal of the laryngectomee's speech rehabilitation program is to find an appropriate sound source that can be used for communicative purposes (Prater, 1984). The normal sound source for speech originates from the vocal cords. The laryngectomee's vocal cords have been removed, however, so the new sound source for speech may be provided by a mechanical device known as an electrolarynx.Oliver Bloodstein (1984) states that an electrolarynx "sends sound vibrations into the oral cavity" and with the different articulatory configurations, speech sounds are produced. The electro-larynx, therefore, provides the laryngectomee with a substitute voice for means of communication. There are very few electro-larynxes available with pitch variation capability, so most exhibit monotonous and robot-like sounds.The specific question addressed in this paper will be whether or not there is a difference in the preferences shown by sophisticated versus naive listeners for speech produced by two different artificial electric larynx devices.Ball State UniversityMuncie, IN 47303