Predicting Intelligibility Gains in Individuals With Dysarthria From Baseline Speech Features Purpose Across the treatment literature, behavioral speech modifications have produced variable intelligibility changes in speakers with dysarthria. This study is the first of two articles exploring whether measurements of baseline speech features can predict speakers’ responses to these modifications. Methods Fifty speakers (7 older individuals and 43 speakers ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
Predicting Intelligibility Gains in Individuals With Dysarthria From Baseline Speech Features
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Annalise R. Fletcher
    Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
    New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour, Christchurch
  • Megan J. McAuliffe
    Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
    New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour, Christchurch
  • Kaitlin L. Lansford
    School of Communication Science & Disorders, Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Donal G. Sinex
    New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour, Christchurch
  • Julie M. Liss
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • 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 Annalise Fletcher: annalise.fletcher@canterbury.ac.nz
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Kathryn Yorkston
    Associate Editor: Kathryn Yorkston×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
Predicting Intelligibility Gains in Individuals With Dysarthria From Baseline Speech Features
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3043-3057. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0218
History: Received June 6, 2016 , Revised October 17, 2016 , Accepted October 26, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3043-3057. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0218
History: Received June 6, 2016; Revised October 17, 2016; Accepted October 26, 2016

Purpose Across the treatment literature, behavioral speech modifications have produced variable intelligibility changes in speakers with dysarthria. This study is the first of two articles exploring whether measurements of baseline speech features can predict speakers’ responses to these modifications.

Methods Fifty speakers (7 older individuals and 43 speakers with dysarthria) read a standard passage in habitual, loud, and slow speaking modes. Eighteen listeners rated how easy the speech samples were to understand. Baseline acoustic measurements of articulation, prosody, and voice quality were collected with perceptual measures of severity.

Results Cues to speak louder and reduce rate did not confer intelligibility benefits to every speaker. The degree to which cues to speak louder improved intelligibility could be predicted by speakers' baseline articulation rates and overall dysarthria severity. Improvements in the slow condition could be predicted by speakers' baseline severity and temporal variability. Speakers with a breathier voice quality tended to perform better in the loud condition than in the slow condition.

Conclusions Assessments of baseline speech features can be used to predict appropriate treatment strategies for speakers with dysarthria. Further development of these assessments could provide the basis for more individualized treatment programs.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Fulbright New Zealand Graduate Award, granted to Annalise R. Fletcher.
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