Matching Items (3)
Distorted vowel production is a hallmark characteristic of dysarthric speech, irrespective of the underlying neurological condition or dysarthria diagnosis. A variety of acoustic metrics have been used to study the nature of vowel production deficits in dysarthria; however, not all demonstrate sensitivity to the exhibited deficits. Less attention has been paid to quantifying the vowel production deficits associated with the specific dysarthrias. Attempts to characterize the relationship between naturally degraded vowel production in dysarthria with overall intelligibility have met with mixed results, leading some to question the nature of this relationship. It has been suggested that aberrant vowel acoustics may be an index of overall severity of the impairment and not an "integral component" of the intelligibility deficit. A limitation of previous work detailing perceptual consequences of disordered vowel acoustics is that overall intelligibility, not vowel identification accuracy, has been the perceptual measure of interest. A series of three experiments were conducted to address the problems outlined herein. The goals of the first experiment were to identify subsets of vowel metrics that reliably distinguish speakers with dysarthria from non-disordered speakers and differentiate the dysarthria subtypes. Vowel metrics that capture vowel centralization and reduced spectral distinctiveness among vowels differentiated dysarthric from non-disordered speakers. Vowel metrics generally failed to differentiate speakers according to their dysarthria diagnosis. The second and third experiments were conducted to evaluate the relationship between degraded vowel acoustics and the resulting percept. In the second experiment, correlation and regression analyses revealed vowel metrics that capture vowel centralization and distinctiveness and movement of the second formant frequency were most predictive of vowel identification accuracy and overall intelligibility. The third experiment was conducted to evaluate the extent to which the nature of the acoustic degradation predicts the resulting percept. Results suggest distinctive vowel tokens are better identified and, likewise, better-identified tokens are more distinctive. Further, an above-chance level agreement between nature of vowel misclassification and misidentification errors was demonstrated for all vowels, suggesting degraded vowel acoustics are not merely an index of severity in dysarthria, but rather are an integral component of the resultant intelligibility disorder.
In this study, the Bark transform and Lobanov method were used to normalize vowel formants in speech produced by persons with dysarthria. The computer classification accuracy of these normalized data were then compared to the results of human perceptual classification accuracy of the actual vowels. These results were then analyzed to determine if these techniques correlated with the human data.
Past studies have shown that auditory feedback plays an important role in maintaining the speech production system. Typically, speakers compensate for auditory feedback alterations when the alterations persist over time (auditory motor adaptation). Our study focused on how to increase the rate of adaptation by using different auditory feedback conditions. For the present study, we recruited a total of 30 participants. We examined auditory motor adaptation after participants completed three conditions: Normal speaking, noise-masked speaking, and silent reading. The normal condition was used as a control condition. In the noise-masked condition, noise was added to the auditory feedback to completely mask speech outputs. In the silent reading condition, participants were instructed to silently read target words in their heads, then read the words out loud. We found that the learning rate in the noise-masked condition was lower than that in the normal condition. In contrast, participants adapted at a faster rate after they experience the silent reading condition. Overall, this study demonstrated that adaptation rate can be modified through pre-exposing participants to different types auditory-motor manipulations.