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Reconstruction of Phonated Speech from Whispers Using Formant-Derived Plausible Pitch Modulation

McLoughlin, Ian Vince, Sharifzadeh, Hamid Reza, Tan, Su Lim, Li, Jingjie, Song, Yan (2015) Reconstruction of Phonated Speech from Whispers Using Formant-Derived Plausible Pitch Modulation. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 6 (4). pp. 1-21. (doi:10.1145/2737724) (KAR id:48819)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2737724

Abstract

Whispering is a natural, unphonated, secondary aspect of speech communications for most people. However, it is the primary mechanism of communications for some speakers who have impaired voice production mechanisms, such as partial laryngectomees, as well as for those prescribed voice rest, which often follows surgery or damage to the larynx. Unlike most people, who choose when to whisper and when not to, these speakers may have little choice but to rely on whispers for much of their daily vocal interaction.

Even though most speakers will whisper at times, and some speakers can only whisper, the majority of today’s computational speech technology systems assume or require phonated speech. This article considers conversion of whispers into natural-sounding phonated speech as a noninvasive prosthetic aid for people with voice impairments who can only whisper. As a by-product, the technique is also useful for unimpaired speakers who choose to whisper.

Speech reconstruction systems can be classified into those requiring training and those that do not. Among the latter, a recent parametric reconstruction framework is explored and then enhanced through a refined estimation of plausible pitch from weighted formant differences. The improved reconstruction framework, with proposed formant-derived artificial pitch modulation, is validated through subjective and objective comparison tests alongside state-of-the-art alternatives.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1145/2737724
Uncontrolled keywords: Whispers, voice reconstruction, whisper-to-speech conversion
Subjects: T Technology
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Ian McLoughlin
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2015 08:34 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:39 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48819 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
McLoughlin, Ian Vince: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7111-2008
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