Perceptual and Acoustic Predictors of Intelligibility and Acceptability in Dysarthria

T Whitehill, V Ciocca, E Yiu


The primary aim of this study was to determine contributing factors to listener judgments of acceptability, a global measure of severity, in speakers with dysarthria. Participants were 33 Cantonese speakers with dysarthria, age 14-78 years, with mixed etiology (including Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and CVA). Listeners were 12 speech-language students. In addition to measuring acceptability and sentence intelligibility, we investigated nine perceptual measures and nine acoustic measures related to aspects of voice, resonance and prosody. Moderate to strong correlations were found between several of these ‘suprasegmental’ variables and acceptability. However, sentence intelligibility was the primary predictor of acceptability judgments. Several explanations are offered for correlations between the perceptual and acoustic variables and sentence intelligibility.