Message banking and voice repair

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an important clinical intervention for many people with motor neurone disease (MND). Some people with MND may want to bank their voice for future use within high-tech AAC systems.

This information is for health and social care professionals. This page gives an overview of message banking and voice repair.

Message banking

Message banking is a recording process that allows a person to record particular phrases that they may say on a regular basis, such as ‘Hello’ or ‘My name is....’

It can be used to record particular phrases a person may say that are particularly meaningful to them, their family or friends. Messages could be used for humour or include terms of endearment, and may reflect a person’s personality or culture. They may also be recorded in different languages. It may be useful to involve family members or friends to suggest ideas for specific messages.

The recorded messages can be played back directly on devices, such as smartphones or tablets. There is no limit to the number of phrases a person can record, but as a synthetic voice is not being produced, it is important to bear in mind that bespoke sentences cannot be created from the recordings at a later date.

If a large number of messages are recorded, thought needs to be given to how these messages are organised.

Most Microsoft Windows PCs (from Windows 7 onwards) will have a feature, either called Sound Recorder or Voice Recorder, that allows a person to record and save individual phrases. If these messages are saved in mp3 format, they can be used in certain AAC software.

Voice repair

This is a developing technique that uses a database of healthy human voices to supplement a voice that has already deteriorated in quality by the time it is recorded.

The MND Association is involved in a research project in Edinburgh that is capturing regional accents. This project, in time, may be able to offer a UK-wide voice repair service. For more information, please visit www.speakunique.org

VocaliD have launched a voice repair service, called 'Bespoke Voice'. There is currently a charge of $1499 (approximately £1200). For more information please visit www.vocalid.co

Find out more

If you would like more information about AAC, please contact our Communication Aids Coordinator or our MND Connect helpline.

For further information and support contact our MND Connect helpline

mndconnect 0808 802 6262