Vowel-specific intelligibility and acoustic patterns in individuals with dysarthria secondary to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Jimin Lee, Emily Dickey, Zachary Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate vowel-specific intelligibility and acoustic patterns of individuals with different severities of dysarthria secondary to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Method: Twenty-three individuals with dysarthria secondary to ALS and 22 typically aging individuals participated as speakers. Participants with ALS were divided into 2 severity groups (severe, mild). For vowel-specific intelligibility data, 135 listeners participated in the study. Vowel-specific intelligibility, intrinsic vowel duration, 1st and 2nd formants (F1 and F2), vowel inherent spectral change (VISC), and absolute VISC were examined. Results: A significant interaction between severity group and the vowel-specific intelligibility pattern as well as F1, F2 VISC, and absolute F2 VISC was observed. Specifically, individuals with severe dysarthria showed a significantly less intelligible /ɪ/ than /ɛ/, unlike individuals with mild dysarthria and typically aging individuals. In addition, vowel intelligibility of /ɪ/ showed the strongest association to the severity measures in individuals with ALS. A number of.

vowel-specific findings are reported in the acoustic variables. Acoustic correlates of vowel-specific intelligibility were identified. Conclusion: Vowel-specific intelligibility patterns are different across severity groups; particularly, low intelligibility of /ɪ/ was noted in individuals with severe dysarthria. Individuals with dysarthria maintained the acoustic contrast in duration and F1 VISC among vowels but did not maintain the other spectral contrasts. Reduction of acoustic vowel space was observed primarily due to high F1 in high vowels in individuals with severe dysarthria. Regression findings suggest that the high F1 values of high and mid vowels and F2 reduction of high-and mid-front vowels decreased vowel-specific intelligibility. In addition, vowel duration influenced the vowel intelligibility of vowels that required short intrinsic vowel duration. Lastly, F2 VISC influenced the vowel intelligibility of /ɪ/. Overall, the vowel-specific intelligibility pattern is related to both vowel-specific characteristics and group-specific articulatory control dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-59
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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