Thank you for your interest in our research on vocal tract development.

The vocal tract is a set of three cavities – oral, pharyngeal, and nasal – involved in the formation of speech sounds. Each of these cavities is formed by a combination of structures that are either soft (such as the tongue, soft palate and lips) or hard (jaw and hard palate). These cavities, and the vocal tract structures, have a complex growth pattern that is being increasingly understood through medical imaging methods such as MRI and CT.

Our Vocal Tract Development Laboratory (VTLab) uses a combination of imaging, acoustics, and vocal tract modeling to understand the lifespan changes of the vocal tract anatomy in typically and atypically developing individuals, and to examine the relation of anatomic changes to speech acoustics.

The VTLab collection consists of anatomic and acoustic data, collected through multidisciplinary research efforts, covering the lifespan (birth to 90 years). The anatomy data provided are 3D binary models, 3D landmarks, and measurements of the vocal tract structures (mandible, palate, hyoid bone, pharynx, larynx, cervical spine). The acoustics data provided are sound recordings of words, vowels, and sentences as well as acoustic measurements. Additionally, acoustic pharyngometry measures of the oral and pharyngeal cavities are provided with the acoustic data.

The Vocal Tract Development Laboratory was established by Houri Kaloustian Vorperian, Ph.D. at the Waisman Center in 1995 with funding support since 2000 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in conjunction with support from the Friends of the Waisman Center.

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