Acoustic and perceptual consequences of speech cues for Mandarin speakers with Parkinson’s Disease

Hsu, Sih-Chiao; McAuliffe, Megan J.; Lin, Peiyi; Wu, Ruey-Meei; Levy, Erika S.

Purpose: This study investigated the effects of cueing for increased loudness and reduced speech rate on scaled intelligibility and acoustics of speech produced by Mandarin speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria due to Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Method: Eleven speakers with PD read passages in habitual, loud, and slow speaking conditions. Fifteen listeners rated ease-of-understanding (EOU) of the speech samples on a visual-analog-scale. Effects of the cues on EOU, vocal loudness, pitch range, pause duration and frequency, articulation rate, and vowel space, as well as relationships between EOU gains and acoustic features were analyzed.

Results: EOU increased significantly in the loud condition only. The loud cue resulted in increased intensity and the slow cue resulted both in reduced articulation rate and increased pause frequency. In the loud condition, EOU increased significantly as intensity increased and vowel centralization decreased. In the slow condition, EOU tended to increase as intensity increased and vowel centralization decreased, but did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: Cueing for loud speech may yield greater EOU gains than cueing for slow speech in Mandarin speakers with PD. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed, although further investigations with more participants and a larger range of dysarthria severity are warranted.


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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

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