Skip to main content

Georgia Southern Program Asks for Voice Donations

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) — You’ve heard of blood drives, food drives and even hair drives. But did you know that you can give your voice to those who have lost theirs?

The Georgia Southern University RiteCare Center for Communication Sciences and Disorders is in the midst of the center’s second annual voice command, collecting voice recordings that will be used to create synthetic voices for people who have lost theirs or have difficulty communicating. .

“People who have lost their voice may include people with progressive neurological conditions such as ALS, or they may have had a stroke that affects their speech,” says Georgia Southern teacher and speech-language pathologist Brittany Patnaude.

Donations are made by recording the approximately 3,500 phrases needed to create a complete digital voice. This recording takes up to five to seven hours, but can be broken up into shorter sessions.

Recordings can be done at home. Donors just need a computer and a headset.

The RiteCare Center says the recordings are submitted to VOCALiD, a voice artificial intelligence company that creates custom synthetic voices through machine learning and speech mixing algorithms.

The synthetic voices can then be used in alternative and enhanced communication devices that many who have lost their voices use to communicate.

“The voices that come pre-programmed on these devices usually tend to sound robotic and unnatural,” says Patnaude. “The voice donation system allows it to be a little more natural.”

“The more voices we get, the more options that person has to choose a voice that really matches their personality and identity,” says Dr. Tory Candea, director of clinical training at Georgia Southern University.

Dr. Candea says allowing the recipient to have a voice that matches their personality helps them find an essential part of who they are.

“A voice is essential to almost every communication process,” she says. “When you lose it, you lose a part of yourself. By donating, you allow someone access to something they may have lost.

During their first drive in 2021, the center says it collected more than 16,000 sentences. This year, they say they’ve collected about 3,000 saved phrases with a few days left in the player.

The deadline for submission of recordings is Wednesday, May 11.

For more information on how to donate, email [email protected]

Copyright 2022 COMC. All rights reserved.