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Contributing factors to listener effort for dysarthric speech
Tara L. Whitehill and Christy C-Y. Chan

The primary aim of this study was to determine contributing factors to judgement of effort, when listening to speakers with dysarthria. The speakers were 33 Cantonese speakers with dysarthria associated with various etiologies, aged 14 to 78 years. Twenty speech and hearing sciences students served as listeners. Listening tasks included orthographic transcription, rating of listener effort using a visual analogue scale (VAS), and selection of factors contributing to the judgement of listener effort. A list of 18 perceptual features was developed for this study, using a preliminary task conducted by a panel of five expert listeners. Mean listener effort across speakers ranged from 0.56 to 9.44 (on the 10 mm VAS). A multiple regression analysis suggested that segmental features were the primary predictor of both listener effort and speech intelligibility. However, factors relating to voice quality also contributed to ratings of effort. There was a strong correlation between listener effort and intelligibility, but a few exceptional cases. The study aims to contribute to our understanding of the concept of listener effort for dysarthric speech.

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