Listener Agreement for Auditory-Perceptual Ratings of Dysarthria

Bunton, Kate; Kent, Raymond D.; Duffy, Joseph R.; Rosenbek, John C.; Kent, Jane F.
December 2007
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2007, Vol. 50 Issue 6, p1481
Academic Journal
Purpose: Darley, Aronson, and Brown (1969a, 1969b) detailed methods and results of auditory-perceptual assessment for speakers with dysarthrias of varying etiology. They reported adequate listener reliability for use of the rating system as a tool for differential diagnosis, but several more recent studies have raised concerns about listener reliability using this approach. Method: In the present study, the authors examined intrarater and interrater agreement for perceptual ratings of 47 speakers with various dysarthria types by 2 listener groups (inexperienced and experienced). The entire set of perceptual features proposed by Darley et al. was rated based on a 40-s conversational speech sample. Results: No differences in levels of agreement were found between the listener groups. Agreement was within 1 scale value or better for 67% of the pairwise comparisons. Levels of agreement were lower when the average rating fell in the mid-range of the scale compared with samples that had an average rating near either of the scale endpoints; agreement was above chance level. No significant differences in agreement were found between the perceptual features. Discussion: The levels of listener agreement that were found indicate that auditory-perceptual ratings show promise during clinical assessment for identifying salient features of dysarthria for speakers with various etiologies.


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