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Throat Microphone for Speech Impared

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rguy91

New Member
A speech impaired man (consequence of Parkinsons) speaks in a wisper too low in power for the general understanding of a listner.

A "Hisonic Waist Band Voice Amplifier" with a mouth proximity acoustic microphone has been tried with limited success. A major problem is the simple annoyance a necessarily close positioned transducer causes and its shift of position caused by some extreme head movements.

Can a "Throat Microphone" or "Vibration Transducer" be used?
If so,
What would be typical Microphone/Transducer Specifications or Make?
What technical problems or particular application details may be expected and are there remedies?

Thank you for your input.
 

Externet

Well-Known Member
Hello.
A better term for what you are looking for is called "contact microphone" -search that way-
It will not yield a decent performance if the patient lost vocal chords use and speaks with whisper only, and even if ends working, the frequency response and inteligibility can be very poor. An audio equalizer circuit can help there.
But nothing to lose by trying:

contactmic

OR:

http://customearpiece.com/category.php?id=31&gclid=CNL_nPnmjZoCFQ9JagodLz7_LQ

Good luck,
Miguel
 
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rguy91

New Member
Throat Microphone for Speech Impaired

Thank you Miguel, both references significantly advance my knowledge base.

I have been able to add a bit more myself.....the Microphone may also be called a "Transdermal" microphone.

A device exists which claims to identify and enhance the intelligable component submerged within a high background noise from the throat.
It is called "The Speech Enhancer SGD" manufactured by "Voicewave Technology Inc".

It is priced at about $8000!!

I will continue to pursue the project from the low cost end of the spectrum and I would appreciate any additional input that could be made.

Thank you
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
Hi Ray,

Firstly, I commend you for what you're trying to do; I can imagine such a device to allow this man to communicate freely would make a world of difference.

There are quite a few throat mics available quite cheaply, as they are used by security staff and some gamers. Try NT2 Throat Mic Tactical headset Throat Mics headsets, the PC Stryker is US$50 and provides a dynamic mic output (should interface to a lot of amplifiers easily). I didn't see any mention of filtering required; it's supposed to produce clear speech out-of-the-box.

googling 'throat microphone' comes up with a whole bunch of stores selling throat mics.
 

rguy91

New Member
Throat Microphone for Speech Impaired

Thanks Dougy,

between you and Miguel I can certainly proceed.

Just a comment on your mention of "Filtering". I suspect filtering will be necessary in practice, if only to limit the effect of extraneous throat noises.
As to what, I can only tell when I have a record of the throat mic's output; I suppose a "Band Pass" filter would be useful, with the upper and lower limiting frequencies being chosen from minor experimentation with the end user.

Many thanks.
 

Willbe

New Member
VME and TAP out of Baltimore, MD, does work in this area.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
A throat mic picks up only vowel sounds of the voice. All the very important consonant sounds produced in the mouth are gone. The spoken words are almost completely unintelligible.
 

rguy91

New Member
Throat Microphone for Speech Impaired

Thanks Willbe, I am following up, VME looks good. Could you elaborate a bit more on TAP.

I was all set to invent a better wheel, so you may have saved me the embarrassment!

Audioguru, is your observation at variance with the successful military use of throat microphones?

Thank you both
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Under-water throat mics have a horrible response.
Just now I entered "Throat Microphone Demo" into Google and found a demonstration of an English guy who sounds awful with his throat mic:
Throat Mic - tech stories, videos, tweets - TechChuck
Click on "Cheap Throat Mics Do work".

Other demos sounded like an ordinary microphone that is under the chin or on the collar, not on the voice-box. One said that it picks up whispers.
 
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Externet

Well-Known Member
rguy91:
I have done sustantial work with communication for the deaf and mute; and want to toss another point of view to your task, if intelligibility is not achieved by processing the throat audio.

If Parkinsons allows; consider the use of a TDD machine (telephone device for the deaf if you are in USA), not connected to telco, just standalone, as the voice impaired person can show its text screen by typing.
A second approach I developed is a PDA (personal digital assistant) using a sort of 'paint' program, where the speech impaired person handwrites with its stylus on its touch-sensitive LCD, turning on the pixels underneath the stylus tip motion.
The handwriting can be of course cleared from screen and write many pages, it is shirt pocket portable and allows communication even with strangers anywhere outside home, by handwriting and showing the display.
That fully opens possibilities for the impaired.

Even a celltelephone with a full keyboard can be used instead for strictly typing, as composing email, not necessarily to 'send' it, but to show the typed message; if pencil and paper are not desirable.

http://www.cnet.co.uk/i/c/blg/cat/handhelds/digimemo.gif
http://www.windowsfordevices.com/files/misc/samsung_q1_handwriting.jpg

Miguel
 

rguy91

New Member
Thanks Miguel. I will pursue the audible first but at least you suggest a fall back position.

On a personal note...If your campaign of Historical Revisionism succeeds, what will you replace the "Bel" with; bearing in mind the Bards wisdom "A rose by any other name will smell as sweet".
 

rguy91

New Member
I trust I am not too late to suggest a paraphrase of the rose quip.

"A sound by any other name will sound the same"!

Regards
 

Daniel Lim

New Member
Is there any further development on this? I have met a parkinson patient who has unclear voice. I'm trying to find a way to help him. If there is any info please let me know.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I heard a throat mic used by a diver. The speech was unintelligible because it was nothing but vowels (grunts and groans). The high frequency consonants produced by the lips and tongue were missing.
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
Here's the only example of throat microphone audio I could find:
It certainly loses the higher frequencies and any expression, but it intelligible. If you have a person that is hard to understand already, this may make things worse.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Eer ih my (unintelligible or aily?) oy, ow oo I oun? Eer is here, ih is is, my sounds fine, aily might be daily, oy is voice, ow is how, oo is do, I is fine and oun is sound. It translates pretty well.
Pretty good for a throat mic that perhaps picks up some sounds from the lips and tongue.
 

Externet

Well-Known Member
Divers intercoms use two microphones for communication on full face masks.
The throat contact microphone is only to activate the VOX, not to capture speech. Another 'normal' microphone does that. Otherwise, breathing noise could trigger the VOX unless a very good filter is implemented to ignore breathing sounds, which will impair intelligibility anyway.
 
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