Speech/Non-Speech Detection for Electro-Larynx Speech Using EMG

Publication from Digital

Clemens Amon , Martin Hagmueller and Anna Katharina Fuchs

Proceedings of Biosignals - 8th International Conference on Bio-Inspired and Signal Processing (BIOSIGNALS 2015 , 1/2015


Electro-larynx speech (EL) is a possibility to re-obtain speech when the larynx is surgically removed or damaged. As currently available devices normally are hand-held, a new generation of EL devices would benefit from a hands-free version. In this work we use electromyographic (EMG) signals to investigate speech/nonspeech detection for EL speech. The muscle activity, which is represented by the EMG signal, correlates with the intention to produce speech sounds and therefore, the short-term
 energy can serve as a feature to make a speech/non-speech decision. We developed a data acquisition hardware to record EMG signals using surface electrodes. We then recorded a small database with parallel recordings of EMG and EL speech and used different approaches to classify the EMG signal into speech/non-speech sections. We compared the following envelope calculation methods: root mean square, Hilbert envelope, and low-pass filtered envelope, and different classification methods: single threshold, double threshold and a Gaussian mixture model based classification. This study suggests that the results are speaker dependent, i.e. they strongly depend on the signal-to-noise ratio of the EMG signal. We show that using low-pass filtered envelope together with double threshold detection outperforms the rest.