Analysis of conversational speech in dysarthria

By K. Rosen, R.D. Kent, J.F. Kent, and J.R. Duffy


Conversational proficiency is an important objective of treatment for a host of communicative disorders, and conversation is typically included as part of clinical assessments. Despite the importance of conversation, studies of such samples in dysarthria seldom have been reported, especially from the perspective of acoustic or physiologic methods. Doubtless, the paucity of studies reflects in part the difficulty of conversational analysis for speakers who have dysprosody and reduced intelligibility. This paper describes and illustrates various approaches to the analysis of conversation by individuals with moderate to severe dysarthria. Acoustic waveforms and spectrograms are used to represent the continuous physical signal of speech, which is then analyzed by a combination of annotative systems and numeric indexes. These analyses are illustrated for 14 speakers with ataxic dysarthria and 7 subjects with dysarthria related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because different methods of analysis are included, methods and results are combined for each analysis in this summary.