Predicting intelligibility gains in individuals with dysarthria from baseline speech features

Annalise R. Fletcher, Megan J. McAuliffe, Kaitlin L. Lansford, Donal G. Sinex, Julie Liss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Across the treatment literature, behavioral speech modifications have produced variable intelligibility changes in speakers with dysarthria. This study is the first of two articles exploring whether measurements of baseline speech features can predict speakers’ responses to these modifications. Methods: Fifty speakers (7 older individuals and 43 speakers with dysarthria) read a standard passage in habitual, loud, and slow speaking modes. Eighteen listeners rated how easy the speech samples were to understand. Baseline acoustic measurements of articulation, prosody, and voice quality were collected with perceptual measures of severity. Results: Cues to speak louder and reduce rate did not confer intelligibility benefits to every speaker. The degree to which cues to speak louder improved intelligibility could be predicted by speakers’ baseline articulation rates and overall dysarthria severity. Improvements in the slow condition could be predicted by speakers’ baseline severity and temporal variability. Speakers with a breathier voice quality tended to perform better in the loud condition than in the slow condition. Conclusions: Assessments of baseline speech features can be used to predict appropriate treatment strategies for speakers with dysarthria. Further development of these assessments could provide the basis for more individualized treatment programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3043-3057
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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