Everyone has a unique and personal voice. We use our voices to express emotion and show our personalities. Voice and message banking provides people with degenerative neurological conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease with a way to preserve their voice using Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC).
What is Voice Banking?
Voice banking is the process of creating a personalised synthetic voice (PSV) by means of recording sentences. The PSV combines elements of a synthesised and natural voice by breaking down speech sounds to create a customised voice. The process involves recording 300-3500 sentences which can then be used to say an infinite number of words and phrases via a tablet, smartphone, or computer, also know as “speech generating devices”. While a PSV is more personalised than a generic synthesised voice, it cannot replace natural speech. it is not capable of changing intonation or expressing emotions such as anger or excitement the way we can when using our natural speech.
How can you start banking your voice?
There are various voice banking platforms including but not limited to:
Each voice banking platform has its own unique way of recording your voice, but all require a quiet room with soft furnishings where possible to absorb echoes. No background noise is preferable to ensure it does not interfere with your recording and using a microphone can help to refine the sound for better quality. Voice banking can take a long time to complete however some voice banking platforms allow users to read paragraphs from online books to help make the process more enjoyable.
What if someone has already lost the ability to speak or record their voice?
Some people may have lost the ability to speak or complete the voice banking process due to degeneration of voice or surgery e.g. following a laryngectomy. A family or friend may be able to complete the voice banking process on the person’s behalf and become a voice donor. This method provides the person with a voice that bears resemblance to natural speech which may increase the person’s opportunity to speak and socialise.
You can read more about voice banking here.
What is message banking?
Message banking is a way of recording a person’s natural speech, storing words, phrases, sentences or sounds. This captures specific and personal aspects of a person’s voice to record messages like “I love you”, names of family and friends, blowing a kiss and much more. Message banking is endless and allows the person to record as many phrases as possible. It differs from voice banking as the recordings are limited to the pre-recorded messages.
A quiet environment is recommended to limit interference from background noise. Some people prefer to use a microphone to enhance the quality of the recording. It is important that Users create a backup of their banked messages to ensure they are stored in a secondary place just in case!
You can read more about message banking here.
How can the multidisciplinary team assist with the voice and message banking process?
Speech Pathologists are experts in communication and can assist people requiring these services to find the most suitable platform to record their voice and messages. They can also help to find an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) device to upload the PSV or messages onto for use.
Occupational Therapists can support the person to access their voice and messages using alternative access methods if needed. Alternate access methods can include using a touchscreen, mouse, switch, or eye tracker to activate the phrases and sentences that have been banked.
Physiotherapists can assist the person to find their most comfortable and functional position when recording their voice and messages. Positioning can help with maintaining good breath support and coordination to enhance the quality of the recording.
If you would like to learn more about how voice and message banking could work for you Contact us today!
Our speech pathology services can be accessed through a range of funding options. We can help you find out if you are eligible and provide information about the options available.
We can be contacted on 1300 340 440.
Or if you are ready to make a referral click here.