Acoustic and Perceptual Analysis of Speech in Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

E Schalling, L Hartelius

 

A number of speech tasks produced by ten subjects with different types of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) and various degrees of dysarthria, and a group of age and gender matched normal controls, were investigated using acoustic instrumentation and perceptual assessment. All subjects showed a number of signs of decreased speech rate, increased pause duration, decreased and more variable durations of alternating motion rate (AMR) syllables and inter-stress intervals (ISI) in addition to vocal instability. These signs were consistent with the perceptual judgment of ataxic dysarthria. Furthermore, the severity of impairment found using these speech analysis methods seemed to correspond to the general severity of the disease and the duration of the illness in these few subjects. The tasks studied appeared to be relevant and suitable for acoustic analyses as they did reveal deviations in the speech of the subjects compared to controls.