We conducted reading tasks in Japanese children with developmental dyslexia under uncontrolled luminance conditions in order to reveal the effects of the color factor, using colored overlays, on reading speed. We evaluated the duration time of reading tasks of hiragana words, katakana words, hiragana non-words, katakana non-words, and sentences in Japanese-speaking children aged 8 to 14 (12 normal, 12 with developmental dyslexia). Duration time was measured with and without colored overlays and neutral density overlays. Procedures were identical to those used in our previous research (Goto et al., 2011), but we did not compensate for loss of surface illuminance in tasks using colored overlays and neutral density overlays. All participants showed no significant difference in reading duration under the three conditions. Our results suggest that changing background color and luminance using colored overlays does not improve reading speed in Japanese children with developmental dyslexia.
The present study investigated 1) whether singing sixteen songs in karaoke results in changes in videoendoscopic observation or in jitter, shimmer and/or harmonic-to-noise ratio (HNR) in speech, and 2) whether water intake during karaoke has effects on the above changes. The results indicated that karaoke singing had an effect on jitter, shimmer and HNR in the vowel /a/ when produced in a low and comfortable pitch. No signs of inflammation or edema were found in the videoendoscopic observations. There was no consistent effect of water intake across all pitch conditions and voice perturbation measures; however, jitter and HNR showed effects of water intake in the high pitch condition, suggesting that high-pitched voices may be sensitive to the presence or absence of water intake during singing.
Over the years, numerous articles have appeared concerning voice therapy for the treatment of dysphonia in non-singers, including some with evidence-based medicine. However, evidence for voice therapy for singers has largely been lacking. Here we report nine singers with vocal fold nodules, vocal fold scarring, vocal fold atrophy or hyperfunctional dysphonia whose disorders were successfully treated by voice therapy. The nine patients (5 men and 4 women; mean age, 53.3 years) underwent voice therapy consisting of forward focus, such as semi-occluded vocal tract therapies, vocal function exercises (VFE) and resonant voice therapy (RVT). The effectiveness of the treatment was assessed by GRBAS, stroboscopic examinations, aerodynamic assessment, acoustic and formant analysis, and voice handicap index (VHI)-10 performed before and after voice therapy. All patients showed improvement of voice. Significant improvements were shown in maximum phonation time, GRBAS and VHI-10. One of the major changes in the singers was a more prominent formant cluster. These results indicate that voice therapy consisting of forward focus can help improve vocal function in singers with dysphonia.
In this study, we evaluated pre- and postoperative VHI scores in 39 patients who underwent phonosurgical treatments for voice disorders in Kochi Medical School Hospital. The patients consisted of 23 males and 16 females, and their mean age was 61.5 years old. The causes of voice disorders were unilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis in 13 cases, vocal polyp in 10, vocal nodule in 4, vocal cyst in 3, and others in 9. The surgical procedures were laryngeal microsurgery in 20 cases, laryngeal framework surgery in 12, and others in 7. VHI scores in all cases significantly improved from a preoperative average of 49.8 to a postoperative average of 31.3. VHI scores and objective phonatory parameters improved postoperatively in both the laryngeal framework (i.e., unilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis) and laryngeal microsurgery (i.e., non-neoplastic mass lesion of the vocal fold) groups. VHI improvement was sustained from 1 to 12 months after the surgeries. VHI and objective phonatory parameters showed significant correlations preoperatively and 1 month postoperatively; however, correlations were insignificant at 3 months and thereafter. We speculate that varied social backgrounds or voice hygiene compliance after the surgeries explain these results. Consequently, long-term follow-up with both objective and subjective assessments of phonatory function is necessary in patients who undergo phonosurgeries.
Tracheoesophageal shunt with placement of a voice prosthesis (VP) has been performed in our department since January 2010. The total number of patients through April 2013 was 22, and here a detailed investigation was carried out on all of these cases. The VP was Provox 2® in all patients. A useful voice was successfully acquired in 18 of the 22 patients (82%) in whom Provox 2® was used. The VP was useful in vocalization of alaryngeal speech, but needed regular replacement. The reasons for replacement, case details, and measures taken against poor vocalization are examined in this study. Maximum phonation time (MPT) could be measured in 18 patients, and among these MPT was ≥10 seconds in 10 patients. The mean timing for VP replacement was four months. The reason for replacement was water leakage in most cases. Swallowing was good, and was not affected by the surgery.
We investigated developmental changes of reading strategy and the effect of cognitive abilities related to developmental changes in reading of Hangul. A total of 85 Korean-speaking children were tested on their reading skills during grade 1 (2011) and again during grade 2 (2012). Results of multiple regression analysis revealed that phoneme awareness and visual cognitive abilities were significant predictors of non-word reading performance. For word and non-word reading fluency performance, receptive vocabulary and automatization abilities were significant predictors. Results of analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between lexicality and grade level. Together these results suggest that development of cognitive abilities is related to reading achievement. In addition, our results showed that both the lexical route and non-lexical route are developed during grades 1 and 2.
We classified 35 members of the Hokkaido laryngectomee welfare organization "Hokureikai" (31 men, 4 women) into three groups according to degree of achievement of esophageal speech and investigated their situations with regard to esophageal speech and esophageal speech rehabilitation. We clarified the following. 1) A degree of achievement of intermediate or above was deemed necessary to talk using esophageal speech. 2) The correlation between VHI-10 and conversation function was poor, and there were no significant differences in degree of achievement among the three groups. 3) As the patients' esophageal speech technique improved, dissatisfaction with factors such as articulation decreased but dissatisfaction with voice volume remained. 4) After mastering the skill process for esophageal speech, patients sometimes used other forms of alaryngeal speech for efficient communication, depending on the situation. 5) In Hokkaido, rehabilitation of total laryngectomees is supported by the "Hokureikai" and members need a long period for acquisition of esophageal speech. Simultaneously, however, our findings also confirmed a lack of medical institutions able to provide systematic rehabilitation support.
We evaluated the influence of emotion included in the meaning of speech on vocal expression of emotion. A recognition test was conducted using foreign languages unknown to participants. The participants were 18 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students. The emotional voices were spoken by professional foreign actors whose native languages were Swedish, Russian, Ukrainian and Portuguese. The degree of elaborate expression of vocal emotion was measured by identification performance of emotion and level of confidence. Two conditions were prepared. One condition was the "congruent condition," where the emotion expressed by speakers and the emotion included in the meaning of their speech were the same. The other was the "incongruent condition," where the two emotions were different. Comparison of the results from both conditions revealed that identification of emotion worsened in the incongruent condition. These results suggest that the speakers were unable to perform expression of emotion sufficiently under the influence of the emotion included in the meaning of words.
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