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Publication numberUS3752929 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 14, 1973
Filing dateNov 3, 1971
Priority dateNov 3, 1971
Publication numberUS 3752929 A, US 3752929A, US-A-3752929, US3752929 A, US3752929A
InventorsFletcher S
Original AssigneeFletcher S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Process and apparatus for determining the degree of nasality of human speech
US 3752929 A
Abstract
A process and apparatus is described in which electric signals representative of the sounds emitted from the nose and mouth are utilized to determine the degree of nasality of speech. Separate electric signals are derived from sounds emitted from the nose and mouth and these are compared one to the other and then the resultant signal is compared with a signal representative of a known degree of nasality. A form of apparatus suitable for carrying out the process is disclosed, including means separately to impress the nasal and oral signals onto separately functioning microphones.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Paten [191 Fletcher v NASALITY OF HUMAN SPEECH [451 Aug. 14, 1973 2,416,353 2/1947 Shipman 179/1 VS Primary Examiner-Kathleen H. Clafiy Assistant Examiner-Jon Bradford Leaheey [76] Inventor: Samuel G. Fletcher, 1919 7th Ave.

South Attorney-Hugh Carter et a].

[22] Filed: Nov. 3, 1971 ABSTRACT [21] Appl. No.: 195,392

A process and apparatus is described in which electric signals representative of the sounds emitted from the UQS. n e e u s u I t l u t u t s I t e t u s a I n [5 Int. Cl. nasality f SPeech- S p electric ig are derived 0 Search 1 VS, from Sounds emitted from the nose and mouth and 128/2 324/77 J these are compared one to the other and then the resultant signal is compared with a signal representative of [56] References Cited a known degree of nasality. A form of apparatus suit- UNITED STATES A N able for carrying out the process is disclosed, including 3,281,534 10/ 1966 Dersch 128/2.1 R means separately to impress the nasal and oral signals 3,383,466 5/1968 Hillix 179/ 1 SA onto separately functioning microphones. 3,316,353 4/1967 Dersch 179/1 SA 3,410,264 11/1968 Frederik 128/2 R 2 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures R t/ Frequency comparator %na.7gzer$ Patented Aug. 14, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 uency QIS Z Fre paratar g 9 Fat 0 Z9 calm INVENTOR. Samuel 6. F/ezcher Afforne qs PROCESS AND APPARATUS FOR DETERMINING THE DEGREE F NASALITY OF HUMAN SPEECH This invention relatesto a process and apparatus for determining the nasality, or degree of nasality, of human speech.

Heretofore in the diagnosis and treatment of hypernasality, such condition generally has been diagnosed merely by having the patient speak to a human listener, the latterof whom then, perceptually, judges the degree of nasality. Such judgment obviously is directly related not only to the acuity of hearing of the listener, but also to background noise, the amount of contact which the listener previously had had with the subject and with other similar subjects, as well as other various physical and psychological factors. Therefore, the concept of determining nasality, and prescribing treatment for the same, by patient to listener methods has been found to be inaccurate and ineffective and has lead to a gross waste of effort both on the part of the patient and the clinician.

Prior efforts have been made to measure hypernasality by electronic means. However, sofaras I am aware such prior efforts have consisted in attempts to utilize the overall sound output from the patient, namely, the sounds emitted from the nasal and oral passages, without attempting in any effective way to segregate these two sounds, analyze the same as they relate to their respective frequencies and then compare them.

In view of the foregoing an object of my invention is to provide a process for determining the degree of nasality in human speech which comprises developing separate electric signals representative of the sounds emitted from the nasal and oral passages of a patient being tested, said signals also being representative of the nasal resonance frequency, and then, utilizing said separate signals, to relate the same to a signal which is representative of a known degree of nasality, thus to obtain an indication of the overall performance of speech, in the sense of nasality.

Another object is to provide a process of the character indicated which comprises carrying out the operation during continuous speech of the person being tested and further, as an aid in speech improvement, continuously to indicate to the person being tested the degree of peformance during the entire therapy period.

A further object is to provide apparatus which is capable of carrying out my improved process and which embodies, in particular, a pair of sound isolated microphones carried by a housing and so relatively arranged that when the housing is brought into place about the face of a person the separate sounds from the nasal and oral cavities are impressed upon the respective microphones, thus initiating and making possible the production of the electrical signals with which I start my improved process.

My invention also is characterized by the provision of apparatus which is reliable in operation and which is responsive to substantially the entire critical range of resonant frequencies encountered in human nasality.

Apparatus illustrating the constructional features of my invention and which may also be used in carrying out my improved process is shown in the accompanying drawings forming a part of this application in which:

FIG. I is a vertical sectional view, somewhat diagrammatic, and illustrating an internally baffled housing having separate microphones therein andwhich are adapted to produce signals representative of sounds emitted from the nasal and oral passages of a person being tested;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view ofthe apparatus shown in FIG. I;

FIG. 3 is a wholly diagrammatic partial wiring dia gram of a portion of my improved apparatus; and,

FIG. 4 is a wholly diagrammatic, schematic wiring diagram of the remainder of my improved apparatus.

Referring to the drawings it will first be understood that my improved process starts with and is predicated upon the concept of producing separate electrical signals which are representative of the sounds emitted from the nasal and oral passages of a person being tested. To this end I indicate in FIG. 1 at I0 a housing which may have a circular lower part 11 and an upper, somewhat vertically elongated part 12. As illustrated in the drawings the lower part 11 provides a chamber 13 while the upper part 12 provides a chamber 14. It will be seen, in effect, that the wall 11a of the device 10, when the device is brought into position relative to a human face as shown, separates the acoustic output of the nose from the mouth.

Associated with the chamber 13" is a microphone 16 while associated with the chamber 14 is a microphone 17. Sound pervious pads I8 and 19 of foam rubber or the like may be used, if desired.

It will be seen that with the housing 10 in place adjacent the face and with the baffle: lla contacting the upper lip of the person, sounds eminating from the nasal cavities are impressed upon the microphone 17 whereas sounds from the oral cavity are impressed upon the microphone 16."

Referring particularly to FIG. 3 signals from the microphones l6 and 17 are lead through circuits 21 and 22 to the respective frequency analyzers 23 and 24. The analyzer 24 is tuned to nasal resonancy frequency while the analyzer 23 scans the same frequency band in the oral signal.

From the frequency analyzers 23 and 24 the signals are sent through the respective circuits 26 and 27 to the ratio computer, indicated diagrammatically at 28; In the computer 28 the nasal signal is divided by the oral signal thus to obtain a quotient signal which is sent through appropriate circuits 29 to a ratio threshold detector, the mechanism of which is enclosed within the dotted outline 31, FIG. 4.

Circuit 32 leads from the microphone 16 to a voice detector, the mechanism of which is included within the dotted outline 33, FIG. 4.

When sound is impressed on microphone. 16 the section of the apparatus indicated by numeral 33 generates a signal which may be denominated logic I and this is impressed through circuits 34 onto a time mode function generator indicated within the box 36. In addition, the signal from the voice detector goes to a sixty cycle clock 37 and to a trial mode success-fail detector 38.

From what has been so far described it will be seen that the enumerated mechanism takes the signals from the nasal and oral passages, converts them into electric signals, analyzes the same for respective intensity and frequencies and divides the signal representative of the oral sound into the signal representative of the nasal sound. This resultant signal is sent through the circuits 29 into the ratio threshold detector 31 and operates the system either in time or trial mode, depending upon its elected function. The signal from microphone 16 is also brought to the voice detector 33 to activate the comparative function.

In the ratio threshold detector 31 the signal from circuits 29 is sent to an amplifying circuit which conditions it to proper voltages, by way of example, from O to 2.4 volts. Also in the section 31 the signal which has been thus conditioned is compared with a signal representative of a known degree of nasality, which by way of example may be 1.8 volts. The comparison signal is lead through circuits 31a to the 60 cycle clock 37, the time mode function generator 36 and to the trial mode success-fail detector 38.

Simultaneously with the foregoing the signal through the circuits 32 coming from microphone 16 are fed to the voice detector 33 which includes an isolation amplifier and sensitivity control therefor, a rectifier, a filter and a threshold detector. The signal coming through circuits 32 from microphone 16 is generally on the order of about to 0.8 volts AC, peak. As before stated, the output through circuits 34 from section 33 go to the clock 37, the time mode function generator 36 and trial mode success-fail detector 38.

From what has been so far described it will be seen that the apparatus provides means to determine during the trial period, (namely, during the time the person is speaking) whether the degree of nasality has decreased below the selected level to which the ratio signal in circuits 29 are being compared.

The trail mode success'fail detector 38 receives the signal from the voice detector 33 and the ratio threshold detector 31 through circuits 41 to an eight bit shift register indicated at 42. The ratio signal is delivered through circuits 43 to a two input NAND gate 44 and a circuit 46 leads from the gate 44 to the input of a J-K flipflop 47. Thus, when the signal in circuits 29 indicate a degree of nasality below the comparison level, the unit 47 sends a signal through circuits 48 to another two input NAND gate 49. When a person stops speaking, for instance at the end of a word, the device 49 gates out a signal which is sent to the success counting devices indicated in part by the numeral 51 and circuits 52. The unit 51 may indicate success in the form of a succession of lights, and so forth. In addition, a circuit 53 may lead to a counter or counters to totalize the number of successes.

In view of the foregoing it will be seen also that various ancillary equipment may be associated with my apparatus. By way of example one may display to the person being tested a succession of lights, or other indicia, indicating to him his repeated success or repeated failure, with each attempt to speak a given sentence, phrase, word or the like.

In actual practice my improved process and apparatus have proven to be extremely beneficial in the scientific diagnosis and treatment of hypernasality. By my improved process people of all ages, that is, children as well as adults have been enabled to reduce their hypernasality to acceptable levels within a very short time as compared to months and even years through traditional observation and treatment. I have thus reduced the science of determining and treating hypemasality from an individual appraisal basis to that of an objective, accurately determinable basis. My invention provides a fixed standard against which a person afflicted with hypemasality may be advised, continuously, as he speaks, of the degree of the same and the improvement which he makes while undergoing observation and test- While I have shown my invention in but one form, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited but is susceptible of various other changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.

What I claim is:

1. In apparatus for analyzing continuous human speech to indicate the degree of nasality thereof comprising:

a. means to produce separate electric signals directly from the sounds emitted from the nasal and oral passages of a person being tested,

b. means to which said signals are separately fed and effective to emit separate signals representative of the proportionate intensity of each signal within a predetermined frequency range,

0. means to which the signals from the means set forth in (b) above are fed and effective to generate another signal which represents the ratio of said signals which ratio is representative of a known degree of nasality d. means to compare said ratio signal to a signal representing a known degree of nasality, and

e. indicating means responsive to the signal obtained from the means of (d) above.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which the means set forth in (a) of claim 1 comprises an internally baffled housing disposed when placed adjacent the face of a person to provide a pair of sound chambers, one of which chambers communicates with the nasal passages and the other of which communicates with the oral passage, and microphones in each of said chambers by which the sounds emitted from the nose and mouth are caused to produce separate electric signals.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2416353 *Feb 6, 1945Feb 25, 1947Shipman BarryMeans for visually comparing sound effects during the production thereof
US3281534 *May 9, 1963Oct 25, 1966Dersch William CNasality meter
US3316353 *Aug 5, 1963Apr 25, 1967Voice Systems IncLisp meter
US3383466 *May 28, 1964May 14, 1968Navy UsaNonacoustic measures in automatic speech recognition
US3410264 *Jun 2, 1966Nov 12, 1968Frederik Willem StevenInstrument for measuring total respiratory and nasal air resistance
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3855417 *Dec 1, 1972Dec 17, 1974Fuller FMethod and apparatus for phonation analysis lending to valid truth/lie decisions by spectral energy region comparison
US4284856 *Sep 24, 1979Aug 18, 1981Hochmair IngeborgMulti-frequency system and method for enhancing auditory stimulation and the like
US4335276 *Apr 16, 1980Jun 15, 1982The University Of VirginiaApparatus for non-invasive measurement and display nasalization in human speech
US4718096 *Nov 5, 1986Jan 5, 1988Speech Systems, Inc.Speech recognition system
US4762135 *Nov 15, 1985Aug 9, 1988Puije P D V DCochlea implant
US5054085 *Nov 19, 1990Oct 1, 1991Speech Systems, Inc.Preprocessing system for speech recognition
US5103834 *Apr 23, 1990Apr 14, 1992S.A. SorefacApparatus for orthophonic diagnosis and reeducation
US6311156 *Sep 17, 1996Oct 30, 2001Kit-Fun HoApparatus for determining aerodynamic wind of utterance
US6656128May 8, 2002Dec 2, 2003Children's Hospital Medical CenterDevice and method for treating hypernasality
US6850882 *Oct 23, 2000Feb 1, 2005Martin RothenbergSystem for measuring velar function during speech
US6971993Nov 14, 2001Dec 6, 2005Logometrix CorporationMethod for utilizing oral movement and related events
US6974424Sep 19, 2001Dec 13, 2005Logometrix CorporationPalatometer and nasometer apparatus
US8423368Mar 12, 2009Apr 16, 2013Rothenberg EnterprisesBiofeedback system for correction of nasality
US8457965Oct 6, 2009Jun 4, 2013Rothenberg EnterprisesMethod for the correction of measured values of vowel nasalance
US20100151426 *Dec 7, 2006Jun 17, 2010Eye Plus Plus, Inc.Electric tactile display
EP0395473A1 *Apr 18, 1990Oct 31, 1990S.A. SorefacProcess and diagnostic device of orthophony reeducation
WO2002025635A2Sep 19, 2001Mar 28, 2002Logometrix CorpPalatometer and nasometer apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification704/231, 704/E11.1
International ClassificationG10L11/00
Cooperative ClassificationG10L25/00
European ClassificationG10L25/00