9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Evaluation of Speaking-Aid System with Voice Conversion for Laryngectomees Toward Its Use in Practical Environments

Keigo Nakamura (1), Tomoki Toda (1), Yoshitaka Nakajima (2), Hiroshi Saruwatari (1), Kiyohiro Shikano (1)

(1) NAIST, Japan; (2) Osaka University, Japan

In this paper, we evaluate our previously proposed speaking-aid system with voice conversion for laryngectomees. The proposed system employs a sound source unit generating extremely small signals to keep them from annoying other persons, and then it statistically converts articulated signals captured with a bodyattached microphone into natural speech. We have so far shown the effectiveness of the proposed system using speech data imitated by a non-laryngectomee, which have recorded in a sound proof room. In this paper, we further investigate 1) whether such small sound source signals cause the lack of auditory feedback under noisy environments and 2) whether the proposed system is effective for real laryngectomees. Experimental results demonstrate that 1) an explicit auditory feedback is useful to keep the speaker's articulation stable and 2) the voice conversion dramatically improves the naturalness of the laryngectomee's speech but it slightly degrades its intelligibility.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Nakamura, Keigo / Toda, Tomoki / Nakajima, Yoshitaka / Saruwatari, Hiroshi / Shikano, Kiyohiro (2008): "Evaluation of speaking-aid system with voice conversion for laryngectomees toward its use in practical environments", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 2209-2212.