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Occupational Voice Use: The Interplay of Vocal Effort, Vocal Demands, and Vocal Production

  • 19 Mar 2020
  • 7:00 PM

Occupational Voice Use: The Interplay of Vocal Effort, Vocal Demands, and Vocal Production

Eric Hunter, PhD

Please visit the Members-Only area of our website for an archived video of this event.

Eric Hunter will briefly summarize previous work aimed at quantifying occupational voice use (using the voice as a primary occupational tool), along with underlying risk factors. Current technology used to examine occupational voice will also be explored. Finally, proposed terminology (voice production, vocal demand, and vocal effort) and their definitions will be discussed. 

Questions to be Addressed: 

  • How does environment or other external factors affect occupational voice use?
  • How much is too much voicing? 
  • What is the perception of vocal effort from the vocalists' point of view? 
  • What current technology is available to capture voice use? 
  • What is the difference between voice production, vocal demand, and vocal effort?

Bio: At Michigan State University, Eric Hunter currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, with a home appointment of professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. He is also the Director of the Trifecta Initiative for Interdisciplinary Health Research (a joint research initiative of the College of Engineering, College of Nursing, and the College of Communication Arts & Sciences). For the last 15 years, Dr. Hunter has researched occupational voice use, particularly examining voice disorders in elementary and secondary school teachers. The goal of his current NIH-funded research is to quantify the risk for and recovery from tissue damage, as well as to ascertain why female teachers appear to be at greater risk.

In addition to occupational voice use, Hunter’s research interests also include signal processing, biomechanics of speech articulators and biomechanical models of the vocal system, and muscle mechanics and muscle models. Broader academic interests include recording techniques, speech perception, musical acoustics and machine recognition of speech. Dr. Hunter has published more than 90 papers and book chapters and has been a part of more than 250 presentations. His expertise on the vocal health of teachers and the aging voice has been consulted in newspaper and television interviews across the United States and Asia, including The New York Times and MSNBC.

Dr. Hunter earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Brigham Young University, with an emphasis in acoustics and vibration. His master’s thesis, which focused on designing and testing computer-generated visual aids, shifted his interest from general acoustics to speech acoustics. He completed his training in the area of speech science and received his doctorate from the University of Iowa. His dissertation topic used continuum mechanics to model vocal fold posturing. He loves his role as husband to an incredible wife and teller of dad jokes to his three teenage children.


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