Spectral- and cepstral-based measures during continuous speech: Capacity to distinguish dysphonia and consistency within a speaker

Soren Y. Lowell, Raymond H. Colton, Richard T. Kelley, Youngmee C. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Spectral- and cepstral-based acoustic measures are preferable to time-based measures for accurately representing dysphonic voices during continuous speech. Although these measures show promising relationships to perceptual voice quality ratings, less is known regarding their ability to differentiate normal from dysphonic voice during continuous speech and the consistency of these measures across multiple utterances by the same speaker. The purpose of this study was to determine whether spectral moments of the long-term average spectrum (LTAS) (spectral mean, standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis) and cepstral peak prominence measures were significantly different for speakers with and without voice disorders when assessed during continuous speech. The consistency of these measures within a speaker across utterances was also addressed. Continuous speech samples from 27 subjects without voice disorders and 27 subjects with mixed voice disorders were acoustically analyzed. In addition, voice samples were perceptually rated for overall severity. Acoustic analyses were performed on three continuous speech stimuli from a reading passage: two full sentences and one constituent phrase. Significant between-group differences were found for both cepstral measures and three LTAS measures (P < 0.001): spectral mean, skewness, and kurtosis. These five measures also showed moderate to strong correlations to overall voice severity. Furthermore, high degrees of within-speaker consistency (correlation coefficients ≥0.89) across utterances with varying length and phonemic content were evidenced for both subject groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e223-e232
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Acoustic
  • Cepstral
  • Dysphonia
  • Long-term average spectrum
  • Spectral
  • Spectral moments
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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