Apps for Treatment and Evaluation of the Voice
When evaluating adults with voice disorders in the past, it may have been difficult to show baseline parameters and progress without having expensive equipment. If you are a clinician who does not have access to VisiPitch Software or works outside of a clinic, use of voice apps may be the key to providing the necessary data needed for a basic voice evaluation or to further determine whether an ENT referral is needed. Here are some inexpensive options that I have tried and tested.
Voice Test is an app designed by the Danube Team. This is a very simple app to use in evaluating the voice characteristics to check for vocal fold health risks. It measures 3 important voice parameters: fundamental frequency, jitter and shimmer. These values are reportedly compared to thresholds given in latest medical publications. The app is recommended to evaluate adult males and females and is not suitable for children.
To use the app, the clinician must first choose whether to evaluate female or male. Once you have selected the appropriate option, you may click the record option and have the client hold out "ah" for a minimum of 3 seconds. There is a countdown to indicate when to begin phonation of "ah" and a visual "gone zone" to try to remain in for the best possible voicing. Once complete, the clinician may press "play" to repeat the recorded voice and then "calculate." This will automatically evaluate the voice and provide the data for fundamental frequency, jitter and shimmer of the recorded voice. I would have liked for the actual normative data comparisons to be provided, however the developers do a nice job of providing a legend to indicate 3 levels of the voicing condition: 1) normal healthy range, 2) parameter is slightly out of range, and 3) parameters significantly exceeding boundaries of normal human voice. The clinician may then choose to include the actual data values in the evaluation and compare to their own preferred normative data chart.
This software appears to be reliable from my personal use. In addition, some clinicians have reportedly compared their client's voicing using both the app and VisiPitch software, which showed very similar results.
Another app that can be used for testing voice is Pitch Analyzer by Ting Wang. This is another very simple app for measuring voice function. The app analyzes frequency and amplitude. It also provides the cent tolerance, note name, note MIDI number, note position on a staff and note position on the piano keyboard. A pitch is detected by analyzing the input and displaying it on the screen in real-time. This app can actually be used to tune an instrument or practice singing.
When in a testing situation, the clinician may choose to target pitch range using this software. This is good for providing data related to the client's lowest and highest pitch as well as their overall vocal range. Again, no normative data is provided on the app itself, however the frequencies may be recorded and compared to normative data in the clinic.
Please note that these apps were not intended to be used as a sole means of voice evaluation, but may provide some basic data to indicate further need for assessment and/or referral to an ENT. They also provide feedback to the client regarding progression of the voice or visual feedback during therapy activities involving pitch. Always consider the testing environment to obtain the most accurate data. The room should be quiet with only the client's voice recorded. When possible, use as external microphone for the most accurate results. In addition, an ENT specialist should always be referred to when the clinician suspects a voice disorder to determine a medical diagnosis that may be related to the current vocal function.
Images courtesy of the Danube Team and Ting Wang.