Audiovisual perception of dysarthric speech in older adults compared to younger adults

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Everyday speech communication typically takes place face-to-face. Accordingly, the task of perceiving speech is a multisensory phenomenon involving both auditory and visual information. The current investigation examines how visual information

Everyday speech communication typically takes place face-to-face. Accordingly, the task of perceiving speech is a multisensory phenomenon involving both auditory and visual information. The current investigation examines how visual information influences recognition of dysarthric speech. It also explores where the influence of visual information is dependent upon age. Forty adults participated in the study that measured intelligibility (percent words correct) of dysarthric speech in auditory versus audiovisual conditions. Participants were then separated into two groups: older adults (age range 47 to 68) and young adults (age range 19 to 36) to examine the influence of age. Findings revealed that all participants, regardless of age, improved their ability to recognize dysarthric speech when visual speech was added to the auditory signal. The magnitude of this benefit, however, was greater for older adults when compared with younger adults. These results inform our understanding of how visual speech information influences understanding of dysarthric speech.