Breath-Group Intelligibility in Dysarthria: Characteristics and Underlying Correlates

Yunusova, Yana; Weismer, Gary; Kent, Ray D.; Rusche, Nicole M.
December 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2005, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p1294
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study was designed to determine whether within-speaker fluctuations in speech intelligibility occurred among speakers with dysarthria who produced a reading passage, and, if they did, whether selected linguistic and acoustic variables predicted the variations in speech intelligibility. Method: Participants with dysarthria included a total of 10 persons with Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; a control group of 10 neurologically normal speakers was also studied. Each participant read a passage that was subsequently separated into consecutive breath groups for estimates of individual breath group intelligibility. Sixty listeners participated in 2 perceptual experiments, generating intelligibility scores across speakers and for each breath group produced by speakers with dysarthria. Results: Individual participants with dysarthria had fluctuations in intelligibility across breath groups. Breath groups of participants with dysarthria had fewer average words and reduced interquartile ranges for the 2nd formant, the latter a global measure of articulatory mobility. Regression analyses with intelligibility measures as the criterion variable and linguistic and acoustic measures as predictor variables produced significant functions both within and across speakers, but the solutions were not the same. Conclusions: Linguistic or acoustic variables that predict across-speaker variations in speech intelligibility may not function in the same way when within-speaker variations in intelligibility are considered.


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