A Powerful, Low-Cost Speech Therapy Product for Your PC
Sona-Speech™ II is a low-cost software package that is based on the acclaimed Visi-Pitch™ IV, also from KayPENTAX.
Instead of using the robust hardware platform of Visi-Pitch IV, Sona-Speech II relies on standard sound cards for data acquisition and playback, making it an ideal choice for budget-minded clinicians. Sona-Speech II is used as a therapy tool for a broad range of speech and voice problems. It provides real-time visual feedback of important speech/voice parameters and quantitative measurements to track patient performance. Due to the performance limitations and variability of PC sound cards, KayPENTAX recommends Sona-Speech II primarily for routine therapy tasks, rather than for research or rigorous voice lab analysis. Sona-Speech II offers the clinician tremendous versatility, now with eight separate modules designed for assessment and treatment of voice, articulation, fluency, motor speech (dysarthria), and other communication disorders. Graphically interesting games are also provided to make therapy tasks appealing to children. Sona-Speech II brings the sophistication of KayPENTAX software found in Visi-Pitch IV to the sound card hardware environment. Clinicians will find Sona-Speech II a tremendous bargain and a powerful addition to their clinical tools.
Importance of Speech Biofeedback
Sona-Speech II extracts acoustic parameters (e.g., pitch, amplitude, and spectral characteristics) during speech/voice production and presents these in real time, providing clients with clear, intuitive visual displays. Using target vocalizations provided by a clinician, client attempts can be directly compared graphically and with auditory playback. Monitoring important speech/voice behaviors with concrete visual displays helps clients reach therapy goals more easily.
Extensive Measurements of Speech and Voice Behavior
To help objectify a client’s baseline performance and subsequent change, Sona-Speech II extracts an extensive range of measurements relevant to speech and voice. In addition to fundamental frequency, amplitude, and spectral measurements, Sona-Speech II contains modules with tasks and concomitant parameters specific to disorders (e.g., dysphonia and motor speech problems). These parameters are displayed graphically and summarized quantitatively; both sets of information can be used in client reports.
A key module of Sona-Speech II is Real-Time Pitch, which displays fundamental frequency and relative intensity in real time. Stress, timing, intonational patterns, as well as target pitch and/or amplitude values during running speech can be seen as they are said by the client. Split screens allow target vocalizations to be compared to a client’s attempt to imitate critical parameters (e.g., amplitude levels, speech rate, pitch range, etc.). The target and the client’s attempt can then be compared visually and quantitatively; audio playback allows the clinician and client to listen critically to important speech/voice behaviors.
The Voice Games module provides animated graphics to represent the same parameters (i.e., pitch and amplitude) extracted in Real-Time Pitch. The games are particularly effective as therapy tasks for motivating children and rewarding good speech/voice behavior. Each game can be modified by the clinician to make a task more or less challenging, depending on the child’s level of performance.
Previously an optional program, Real-Time Spectrogram is now included as a standard module in Sona-Speech II. The spectrogram has been a benchmark analysis tool of speech signals for over a half-century because of its innovative, revealing three-dimensional display. The real-time performance of this module allows it to be used for selected articulation training (sample protocols are provided) and for voice “typing” of dysphonic voices as recommended by the National Center for Voice and Speech (NCVS).
Motor Speech Profile
Formerly an option strictly for the KayPENTAX CSL™ platform, a simplified version of Motor Speech Profile™ is included in Sona-Speech II. Primarily an analysis tool, this program assesses, in depth, the speech performance of patients with motor speech problems (i.e., dysarthria). Distinct tasks are elicited in systematic protocols (with message prompts) to help profile the patient’s performance and identify potential motor speech problems; results of each task are quantified and graphed against a normative database. For example, a task for analyzing second formant transitions is sensitive in tracking vowel neutralization often observed in dysarthric patients; similarly, diadochokinetic rate and periodicity have been shown to be closely associated with articulatory agility. As with all Sona-Speech II parameters, the data can be included in a report summarizing patient performance.
Multi-Dimensional Voice Program (MDVP)
MDVP™ extracts objective quantitative values on sustained phonation which are displayed graphically and numerically in comparison to a built-in normative database. These are useful in profiling a patient’s voice in the initial evaluation and then tracking performance over time. It should be cautioned that MDVP measurements may be affected by some sound cards’ performance specifications; for research purposes, KayPENTAX recommends using either Visi-Pitch or CSL hardware platforms, both with known, robust data-acquisition specifications.An optional CD-ROM of some 700 normal and pathological cases is available from KayPENTAX to help familiarize clinicians with acoustic profiles of various disorders.
This module is a convenient tool for speech waveform acquisition, editing, and playback. Selected portions of a speech sample can be edited and saved to disk. Two-channel data acquisition can be performed using this module. Caution should be exercised when acquiring signals that may be affected by the AC coupling of sound cards.
Auditory Feedback Tools
Auditory Feedback Tools (AFT) is a highly useful module for critical listening feedback (using headphones) and various types of auditory feedback that have been found to be effective in achieving desired speech behaviors. A key premise of AFT is the seminal role of auditory feedback in speech therapy. Included are high-fidelity amplification, looped playback of selected speech tokens (e.g., word, phrase, or sentence level), Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), white-noise masking, speech-rate modification (e.g., prolonging an acquired utterance without altering its pitch on playback), and a metronome pacer. Most of these tools are a subset of features provided in the KayPENTAX Facilitator™, which contains five modes of auditory feedback in a portable (wearable) instrument. An array of auditory feedback tools is provided to help clients attain therapy goals. High-fidelity feedback is monitored through headphones.
Multiple innovative displays of the spectral patterns of sustained phonation (e.g., vowels and sibilants) are offered with the Sona-Match module. These are particularly useful for articulation training, second-language acquisition, and the singing voice. Sona-Match displays these spectral parameters in real time so that it can be used in therapy for visual feedback or as a teaching tool.
Recommended Accessories for Sona-Speech II
Microphones provided with sound cards are usually of marginal quality. KayPENTAX recommends a quality microphone, a preamplifier to ensure adequate signal levels are input to the sound card, and headphones (needed for the Auditory Feedback Tools module). KayPENTAX can provide you with these components, which vary depending on your computer (laptop vs. desktop). Consult the company (or your representative) for advice if needed.
Optional Programs for Sona-Speech II
Additional programs are available for Sona-Speech II. These include the Disordered Voice Database and Program (Model 4337) and Real-Time EGG Analysis (Model 5138). Note that sound cards should have a cutoff frequency (AC coupling) of 5 Hz or less for Real-Time EGG Analysis. Separate fliers on these programs are available from KayPENTAX.
- Voice Disorders
- Motor Speech Disorders
- Voice Typing
- Selected Articulation Training
- Hearing-Impaired Speech
- Professional Voice
- Accent Reduction and Second Language Learning
For more information on Sona-Speech II, please contact KayPENTAX. or your local representative.