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University of Cincinnati research will integrate speech patterns into treatment

The bulk of the funding will try to develop software to help neuroscience researchers screen speech patterns. The remainder of the grant will develop a speech-monitoring device to help the hearing impaired communicate with others.

CINCINNATI, Ohio — A researcher at the University of Cincinnati will use $850,000 from the National Institutes of Health to develop technology that would help health-care staff to better interpret speech.

The bulk of the funding ($650,000) will try to develop software to help neuroscience researchers screen speech patterns. The remainder of the grant will develop a speech-monitoring device to help the hearing impaired communicate with others.

Changing speech patterns can hold clues to changes in conditions like autism, schizophrenia or sleep disorders, grant recipient Susan Boyce, a professor in communication sciences/disorders at the university’s College of Allied Health Sciences, stated in a university press release. Yet the complexities of speech have vexed researchers, causing them to abandon attempts to study speech, she stated.

Boyce’s software would measure someone’s casual speaking style and their more formal speech, and then teach patients how to change between those styles. Voice changes are like exercising an extra muscle, Boyce stated.