Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 453–462 | Cite as

Sensitivity analysis of muscle mechanics-based voice simulator to determine gender-specific speech characteristics

  • Simeon L. SmithEmail author
  • Lynn Maxfield
  • Eric J. Hunter
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to investigate the gender differences in voice simulation using a sensitivity analysis approach. A global, Monte Carlo-based approach was employed, and the relationships between biomechanical inputs (lung pressure and muscle activation levels) and acoustic outputs (fundamental frequency, f0, and sound pressure level, SPL) were investigated for male and female versions of a voice simulator model. The gender distinction in the model was based on an anatomical scaling of the laryngeal structures. Results showed strong relationships for f0 and SPL as functions of lung pressure, as well as for f0 as a function of cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscle activity, in agreement with previous literature. Also expected was a systematic shift in f0 range between the genders. It was found that the female model exhibited greater pitch strength (saliency) than the male model, which might equate to a perceptually more periodic or higher-quality voice for females. In addition, the female model required slightly higher lung pressures than the male model to achieve the same SPL, suggesting a possibly greater phonatory effort and predisposition for fatigue in the female voice. The methods and results of this study lay the groundwork for a complete mapping of simulator sound signal characteristics as a function of simulator input parameters and a better understanding of gender-specific voice production and vocal health.


Voice biomechanics Voice simulation Sensitivity analysis 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Grant No. R01DC012315. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


This study was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, grant number R01DC012315

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simeon L. Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lynn Maxfield
    • 1
  • Eric J. Hunter
    • 2
  1. 1.National Center for Voice and SpeechUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Communicative Sciences and DisordersMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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