An age-dependent vocal tract model for males and females based on anatomic measurements

Brad H. Story, Houri K. Vorperian, Kate Bunton, Reid B. Durtschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to take a first step toward constructing a developmental and sex-specific version of a parametric vocal tract area function model representative of male and female vocal tracts ranging in age from infancy to 12 yrs, as well as adults. Anatomic measurements collected from a large imaging database of male and female children and adults provided the dataset from which length warping and cross-dimension scaling functions were derived, and applied to the adult-based vocal tract model to project it backward along an age continuum. The resulting model was assessed qualitatively by projecting hypothetical vocal tract shapes onto midsagittal images from the cohort of children, and quantitatively by comparison of formant frequencies produced by the model to those reported in the literature. An additional validation of modeled vocal tract shapes was made possible by comparison to cross-sectional area measurements obtained for children and adults using acoustic pharyngometry. This initial attempt to generate a sex-specific developmental vocal tract model paves a path to study the relation of vocal tract dimensions to documented prepubertal acoustic differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3079-3102
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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