Researchers have created the first smart wearable device specifically designed to assist people in avoiding vocal fatigue.
Materials scientists, biomedical engineers, opera singers, and a speech-language pathologist make up the Northwestern University team. The new technology’s research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of February 20.
How it works
The device, which has yet to be named, works by measuring the user’s vocal intensity and providing feedback when they speak too loudly or too softly. Furthermore, it reminds the user to take regular breaks when using their voice for extended periods of time. This enables the user to protect their voice from overuse and fatigue while also ensuring that they are taking the necessary precautions to maintain their vocal health.
As first reported by MedicalXPress, a user is supposed to wear it around their neck. The postage stamp-sized device adheres to the upper chest to detect subtle vibrations. The information is then transmitted to the accompanying smartphone app.
The software allows users to monitor their vocal activities in real time, capturing the total vocal load at the time. The device can even tell the difference between singing and speaking, allowing users to track each activity separately.
They can also press a button if they are experiencing vocal discomfort. This data will be used to help determine vocal thresholds. A haptic device will vibrate as an alert when the user approaches or exceeds their personalized threshold.
It could be used with a standard smartwatch
This technology is Bluetooth-enabled. This means it can be used with any device that includes a haptic motor, such as a standard smart watch. Unlike other vocal-monitoring devices, this one is lightweight and discrete. There are no wires or bulky equipment required, making it an ideal choice for continuous monitoring in a real-world setting.
The battery-powered, wireless wearable device could be a valuable tool for those who rely on their voice for work. It could be useful in the music and entertainment industries, as well as in educational settings. Professional singers, teachers, politicians, call-center workers, coaches, and anyone else who relies on their voices to communicate effectively and earn a living are all included.
Taking care of your voice: Avoiding vocal fatigue
Due to the increased use of technology, such as video calls and social media, vocal overuse is becoming more common. Excessive strain on the vocal cords can result in hoarseness, pain, and difficulty speaking. It can also cause long-term damage to the vocal cords in some cases, such as vocal nodules, polyps, and cysts. It is critical to take care of your voice and remember to rest it on a regular basis to avoid overuse.
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Hoarseness, laryngitis, vocal cord nodules, and vocal fatigue can all result from excessive vocal use. Drinking plenty of water, not speaking too loudly or for too long, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and using a microphone when possible are all good practices.
Of course, the best cure is prevention. This is where the newly developed wearable device could come in handy.
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