An Examination of the Relationship Between

Electroglottographic (EGG) Contact Quotient,
EGG Decontacting Phase Profile, and Acoustical
Spectral Moments
Shaheen N. Awan, Ph.D.

Andrew R. Krauss, B.S.

Christian T. Herbst, Ph.D.

Dept. of Audiology & Speech Pathology,

Bloomsburg University of PA,
Bloomsburg, PA, United States

Voice Research Lab, Dept. of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, Palacky University Olomouc,
the Czech Republic

  There are many ways to evaluate vocal function, including:
  Perceptual (breathy, strained)
  Acoustical (jitter, shimmer, HNR)
  Physiological (laryngoscopy, electroglottography)
  Investigation of the possible relationships between methods is valuable in our
attempts to gain a deeper understanding of normal or disordered voice
production and the methods we use to describe voice
  Research that can establish the relationship(s) between acoustic and
physiological measures of voice are important in demonstrating the validity of
these methods in describing vocal function.
  Example: perception of “strain” is associated with longer CQ
  This study: electroglottography vs. acoustic characteristics

EGG: Measurements of VF Contact
  Electroglottography (EGG)
provides information on the
duration of VF contact (La &
Sundberg, 2012)
  Two electrodes placed at the
thyroid lamina
  Fluctuations in signal impedance
occur during vibration
  One of the key measures of the
EGG waveform is the contact
quotient (CQ)
  Duration of VF contact during
each glottal cycle
  The profile/shape of the EGG
waveform has also been described
(e.g., knee vs. no knee)
Obtained from:
Acoustic Transformation
•  Sound travels from the larynx to the
supraglottal cavities
•  The vibration produced at the
larynx is resonated and shaped to
create the desired phoneme
•  Acoustic output into air sounds
very different from the glottal
  Examine the possible association between:
a.  EGG characteristics (i.e., CQ and profile)
b.  Spectral characteristics of the airborne acoustic
signal (spectral moments)
  Possible gender differences were also investigated
1.  EGG characteristics
2.  Spectral moments
  Participants: 24 males and 24 females between the ages of 18 and 30
(mean age = 21.33, SD = 1.49) with normal voice

  Task: produce ɑ for 3 seconds at comfortable pitch and loudness

  Equipment: Signals digitized using KayPENTAX Model 4500
Computerized Speech Lab (CSL) Version 3.4.1 and Real-Time EGG
software (KayPENTAX, Montvale, NJ) at 44.1 kHz, 16 bits
  EGG signals were recorded using a KayPENTAX Model 6103
Electroglottograph (KayPENTAX Inc., Montvale, NJ)
  Simultaneous acoustic signals were recorded using a Shure
SM10A microphone (Shure Inc., Niles, IL)
  Central 1 second portion of the combined signal selected for analyses

  EGG analyses conducted in custom SciLab v5.3.3 program previously validated
in Awan and Awan (2013)
  EGG signal was bandpass filtered using a phase-preserving Blackman filter (pass
band of 20–1500 Hz) using the CSL Main program
  Derivative algorithm utilized for CQ
  EGG profile was rated as by 2 independent judges (knee vs. no knee)
  83.3% exact agreement (40/48), ARK was tiebreaker for remaining 8
  Acoustic analyses using CSL Main software program (KayPENTEX Inc.,
Montvale, NJ)
  Filtered and downsampled to 22 kHz
  LTAS measurement for spectral moments (1024 pts; Blackman window)
Measurements of Voice Acoustics
  Human voice spectrum (amplitude vs. frequency)

  Spectral moments of long-term average spectrum (LTAS)
1.  Spectral mean – central tendency (Hz)
2.  Spectral SD – related to variance around the spectral mean
3.  Spectral skewness – average symmetry of the distribution
  Positive skew: more energy in lower frequencies
  Negative skew: more energy in higher frequencies
4.  Spectral kurtosis – “peakedness” of the spectrum
  Higher values: compact spectrum, frequencies in smaller range
  Lower values: flattened spectrum, wider frequency range

(Forrest et al., 1988; Harwardt and Nourbors, 2011; Kardach et al., 2002)
Results: Is CQ correlated with spectral moments?
  CQ and spectral SD (r = -0.40; p = 0.005)

  CQ and skewness (r = 0.37; p = 0.01)

  CQ and kurtosis (r = 0.36; p = 0.011)
Results: Profile Ratings
  24 out of 48 subjects were judged as knee-positive
  17 males
  7 females
  Series of 2-way ANOVAs for EGG and spectral measurements
  2 levels of profile (knee-positive and knee-negative)
  2 levels of gender
Results: Is profile associated with spectral moments?
  Individuals in the knee-positive group
  Tendency for increased CQ
  Strong tendency for lower spectral mean
  Increased Spectral SD*
  Small tendency for increased skewness
  Small tendency for decreased kurtosis

Measurement Knee-positive mean (SD) Knee-negative mean (SD) Eta

CQ 44.50% (8.70) 38.68% (12.74) .004
Spectral mean 661.51 Hz (114.76) 745.16 Hz (101.17) .074
Spectral SD 347.14 Hz (72.79) 336.90 Hz (80.97) .082
Skewness 2.96 (1.76) 2.31 (1.64) .003
Kurtosis 32.73 (28.45) 33.41 (39.31) .021
  VF contact as measured via CQ accounts for small portion (13 – 16%) of spectral
distribution characteristics as measured via spectral moments
  Increased CQ relates to longer closure, greater energy, and higher excitation of
  However, the spectral center of gravity may still remain in the lower frequency
  Positive correlation between CQ and spectral skewness
  Inverse correlation with spectral standard deviation
  Spectrum may become more peaked
  Positive correlation between CQ and spectral kurtosis
  In contrast, knee shaped EGG waveforms are associated with increased spectral
standard deviation
  Spectral energy may become increasingly distributed in subjects with concave
down/knee shaped EGG decontacting profiles
  Trend for reduced kurtosis (spectral flattening)
  Results clearly show degree of vocal fold contact and differences in
decontacting phase profile may have an affect on the spectral
characteristics of the voice
  Weak to moderate correlations were found in this study
  These findings are consistent with the relatively weak relationships
between CQ and spectral measures reported by Holmberg et al. (1995)
  The degree of glottal adduction may influence certain spectral
characteristics in relatively unpredictable ways (Alipour et al.,
  Results stress the importance of the transformative role of the
supraglottal vocal tract
  Acoustic output maintains some characteristics of the glottal source
  Modifies the source characteristics in ways not completely accounted
for by single parameters such as CQ

or EGG decontacting profile
Future Work
  Possible use of pitch-corrected LTAS
  Pitch is potentially a strong factor in spectral moments
  Compare spectral moments of the EGG signal to acoustic signal
  Continuous speech task
  Increase the number of participants
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Harwardt C, Noubours S. On the Relationship between Vocal Effort and Spectral Moments. In: SiMPE 2011 Proceedings.; 2011:1–4.
Henrich N, d’Alessandro C, Doval B, Castellengo M. On the use of the derivative of electroglottographic signals for characterization of nonpathological phonation. J Acoust
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Analysing the Electroglottographic Signal. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from
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Results: Effects of Gender and Profile
  CQ was significantly different between genders (p = 0.03) Males: 46.96% Females:
  CQ was greater in knees (44.49%) than non (38.68%)
  Females: significantly greater spectral SD (p < 0.001)
  307.13 (males) vs. 376.97 Hz (females)

  Males had significantly greater spectral skewness (p = 0.047)
  3.21 (males) vs. 2.05 (females)

  Males had significantly greater spectral kurtosis (p = 0.026)
  42.84 (males) vs. 23.35 (females)
  Knee-positive group had significantly greater spectral SD (p = 0.029)
  347.14 Hz (knee) vs. 336.96 Hz (no knee)
Gender Results Summary (CQ)


  Spectral mean
  Spectral SD**
Gender Results Summary (Spectral Moments)

  Spectral mean
  Spectral SD**