In recognition of National Aphasia Awareness Month, the daughter of an Elder Care Alliance staff member recently gave a presentation about her work to help those who suffer from voicelessness.
Seventh-grader Ruby Jordan presented “The Human Voice & The Power of Humanity” at Mercy Retirement & Care Center on June 7. Ruby attends Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley and is the daughter of Rosemary Jordan, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Elder Care Alliance.
The talk focused on the more than 10 million people who live without the use of their voices and covered the reasons why today’s text-to-speech technologies often are inadequate.
Such technologies do not provide differentiation for age or gender, Ruby noted. In addition, she said that research is revealing more information about the causes of voice loss, and new technologies are offering solutions. She encouraged attendees to get involved by volunteering to have their voices used in text-to-speech technology.
In addition to the presentation, Ruby also worked with classmates to develop a website focusing on the causes of voice loss. The site won second place in the website category at the regional Word Savvy competition.
The Devastating Effects of Aphasia
Strokes are one of the leading causes of disability among Americans and can cause aphasia, which results in impairment to the ability to speak and use language.
Aphasia can severely impact quality of life, but as Ruby discussed, new technologies are making a difference. One of those is VocaliD, which is providing a wide variety of customized, digital voices that individuals with aphasia can use instead of the often sterile voices in many of today’s applications.
Through the use of crowdsourcing, VocaliD is bringing people together to share their speech to create new voices, and they can bank their voices for their own possible use in the future.
With the help of new technologies and young people like Ruby, individuals who lose their voice to aphasia can expect a brighter future.