Listener Perception of Monopitch, Naturalness, and Intelligibility for Speakers With Parkinson's Disease Purpose Given the potential significance of speech naturalness to functional and social rehabilitation outcomes, the objective of this study was to examine the effect of listener perceptions of monopitch on speech naturalness and intelligibility in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). Method Two short utterances were extracted from monologue ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 2015
Listener Perception of Monopitch, Naturalness, and Intelligibility for Speakers With Parkinson's Disease
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Supraja Anand
    West Chester University, PA
  • Cara E. Stepp
    Boston University, MA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Supraja Anand: sanand@wcupa.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Kate Bunton
    Associate Editor: Kate Bunton×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 2015
Listener Perception of Monopitch, Naturalness, and Intelligibility for Speakers With Parkinson's Disease
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1134-1144. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0243
History: Received August 30, 2014 , Revised January 19, 2015 , Accepted May 24, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1134-1144. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0243
History: Received August 30, 2014; Revised January 19, 2015; Accepted May 24, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose Given the potential significance of speech naturalness to functional and social rehabilitation outcomes, the objective of this study was to examine the effect of listener perceptions of monopitch on speech naturalness and intelligibility in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Method Two short utterances were extracted from monologue samples of 16 speakers with PD and 5 age-matched adults without PD. Sixteen listeners evaluated these stimuli for monopitch, speech naturalness and intelligibility using the visual sort and rate method.

Results Naïve listeners can reliably judge monopitch, speech naturalness, and intelligibility with minimal familiarization. While monopitch and speech intelligibility were only moderately correlated, monopitch and speech naturalness were highly correlated.

Conclusions A great deal of attention is currently being paid to improvement of vocal loudness and thus speech intelligibility in PD. Our findings suggest that prosodic characteristics such as monopitch should be explored as adjuncts to this treatment of dysarthria in PD. Development of such prosodic treatments may enhance speech naturalness and thus improve quality of life.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant DC012651 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (awarded to C. E. Stepp), and the Boston Rehabilitation Outcomes Center was supported by Grant HD065688 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (awarded to A. M. Jette). The authors wish to thank Jessica Malloy for assistance with participant recruitment and the four listeners who provided pilot ratings of the three percepts.
This work was completed by the first author, Supraja Anand, as part of postdoctoral training at Boston University under the mentorship of the second author, Dr. Cara E. Stepp.
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