REpair, STOrage and REhabilitation of speech (RESTORE) (TEC2015-67163-C2-1-R)

from 2016 to 2018
Financing entity:
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad

Participant institutions: UPV/EHU, BIOCRUCES

According to the data of the Spanish Statistical Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística) from 2008, there are more than 400 000 people with oral disabilities in Spain. In Europe, the 0.4% of the population has an oral disability as indicated by Eurostat. This kind of disability produces social isolation since the communication with the environment is seriously affected so as to hamper personal relations and to generate problems of integration in the workplace.

RESTORE is a project aimed to improve the quality of communication of the people with difficulties to produce speech, providing them with tools and alternative communication services, while a progress is made in the research of restoration and rehabilitation techniques of disordered speech. The following goals are proposed for the project:

Goal 1.- Implementation of a donors' voice bank and creation of the service of personalized synthetic speech for people with oral disabilities in general and people who have been laryngectomised at Hospital Universitario de Cruces.

Goal 2.- Development of a Serious Game as a multimedia tool to support the speech rehabilitation process for people who have been laryngectomised.

Goal 3.- Improve the intelligibility of alaringeal voices (of people who have been laryngectomised) and disartric voices.

The Project coordinates the research work of two groups, one from Telecommunication Engineering and the other of Medicine and Speech Therapy. The Voice Banking service proposed is a groundbreaking service for the country, since there are only a few experiences with the same aim in USA and Europe. This kind of service offers personalized synthetic speech that can be used in existing Alternative and Augmentative Communication devices. These devices allow people with oral disabilities to communicate. In our proposal the communication is achieved with a personalized voice that might be similar to the patient's own voice in cases of progressive diseases or laryngectomies.

The ultimate goal of the project is to offer new possibilities in the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of patients with speech pathologies, especially those laryngectomised, by designing new intervention strategies aimed to favour their communication with the environment and ultimately increase their quality of life.