For traditional rehabilitation of speech disorder, speech therapists need to assess and treat patients with voice disorder individually. This individual therapy process leads to a long waiting for patients to have next rehabilitation. In addition, patients have to spend a lot of time practicing, and this practice would bore them and make the efficacy of treatment poor.
Therefore, there is a need to develop a rehabilitation program for voice disorder patients to achieve their goal of recovery. The main purpose of this study was to design a computer game system for voice disorder rehabilitation. By playing game, we motivated the patients for speech rehabilitation. Our game system could record a short speech signal and calculated its volume (in decibel, dB) and fundamental frequency (in Hertz, Hz) immediately. These two parameters were used to control the animated character and provide visual feedback for patients when they practiced. With appropriate level setting, speech therapists would not only diagnosis the condition of treatment but also formulate rehabilitation schedule for the patients from their game performance. Based on each rehabilitation schedule, the patients might practice with the game system on the computer or notebook in their free time to achieve better efficacy of rehabilitation.
To evaluate the feasibility of the system, we collaborated with a speech therapist in Taoyuan General Hospital and design an experiment for five normal subjects (Normal subjects) and six subjects with voice disorder or poor voice (Hospital subjects). This experiment was reviewed by the Internal Review Board (IRB) and carried out for three weeks (one day per week and six times per day with a total time of 30 minutes). Each experiment included 4 pitch and 2 volume games. In terms of their performance, the subjects were trained with our game system in appropriate levels which were evaluated after each test. After finishing all the tests, we evaluated their performance by comparing the results of the first and last experiments.
The performance of the normal and hospital subjects were analyzed with the Mann-Whitney U test. The result showed the improved ranges of pitch and volume for hospital subjects were smaller. There was significant difference between these two groups of subjects (p<0.05). We investigated further to check if the hospital subjects improved their performance after 3 weeks training. We found that the average improvements of the hospital subjects were listed as follow: the volume was increased 10% (from 70 to 78.8 dB); the voicing duration was extended 21% (from 1.4s to 1.7s); the upper fundamental frequency was increased 10% (from 162.8 to 179.2 Hz); lower fundamental was decreased 12 % (from 132 to 116.4 Hz). As a result, the range of pitch was increased two times (from 30.8 Hz to 62.8Hz). These results indicated that all subjects attended this experiment improve their performance. This means that our game system is feasible for patients with voice disorder to improve their voicing after practicing.
Keywords: Fundamental Frequency, Volume, Voice disorder, Voice therapy, Serious game.
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曾進興，民國94年，語言病理學基礎 — 第一卷，心理出版社股份有限公司，台北市，台灣。
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