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  • 'Singing' rats show hope for older humans with age-related voice problems

    A new study by University of Illinois speech and hearing sciences professor Aaron Johnson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin shows that the vocal training of older rats reduces some of the voice problems related to their aging. The researchers hope that in the future, this animal model will lead to voice therapy for aging humans to help improve their quality of life.

    A new study by University of Illinois speech and hearing sciences professor Aaron Johnson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin shows that the vocal training of older rats reduces some of the voice problems related to their aging. The researchers hope that in the future, this animal model will lead to voice therapy for aging humans to help improve their quality of life.

    Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      A new study by University of Illinois speech and hearing sciences professor Aaron Johnson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin shows that the vocal training of older rats reduces some of the voice problems related to their aging. The researchers hope that in the future, this animal model will lead to voice therapy for aging humans to help improve their quality of life.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      AUDIO Rats like those used in University of Illinois speech and hearing sciences professor Aaron Johnson's study make ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) that are above the range of human hearing, but special recording equipment and a computer that lowers the frequency of the rat calls allows humans to perceive them. As the recording shows, the USVs sound a bit like bird calls.

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  • To contact Aaron Johnson, call 217-333-2230; email amj3@illinois.edu. The paper, “Vocal Training Mitigates Age-Related Changes Within the Vocal Mechanism in Old Rats,” is available online or from the University of Illinois News Bureau.