Everyday listeners' perspective on ALS and HD dysarthria:  A description

of barriers and strategies in understanding distorted speech

By E.R. Klasner, K.M. Yorkston, and M. Lillvik


A focus group approach was used to obtain information about listener experiences in understanding the dysarthrias associated with Huntington disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Listeners listened to and transcribed recorded speech samples of both types of dysarthria and were then asked to discuss what factors may have influenced their ability to understand the speech samples.  A thematic content analysis was used to interpret the information from the focus groups.  Listeners described their experiences in terms of barriers and strategies.  Barriers were those features that interfered with understanding and strategies were the approaches listeners used to facilitate understanding.  Results showed that both barriers and strategies differed based on dysarthria type.  Listeners indicated that both bottom up and top down processing strategies were used to understand dysarthric speech.  Clinical implication of these findings will be discussed.