Impairment of vowel articulation as a possible marker of disease progression in Parkinson's disease.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: The aim of the current study was to survey if vowel articulation in speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD) shows specific changes in the course of the disease. METHOD: 67 patients with PD (42 male) and 40 healthy speakers (20 male) were tested and retested after an average time interval of 34 months. Participants had to read a given text as source for subsequent calculation of the triangular vowel space area (tVSA) and vowel articulation index (VAI). Measurement of tVSA and VAI were based upon analysis of the first and second formant of the vowels /?/, /i/and /u/ extracted from defined words within the text. RESULTS: At first visit, VAI values were reduced in male and female PD patients as compared to the control group, and showed a further decrease at the second visit. Only in female Parkinsonian speakers, VAI was correlated to overall speech impairment based upon perceptual impression. VAI and tVSA were correlated to gait impairment, but no correlations were seen between VAI and global motor impairment or overall disease duration. tVSA showed a similar reduction in the PD as compared to the control group and was also found to further decline between first and second examination in female, but not in male speakers with PD. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of VAI seems to be superior to tVSA in the description of impaired vowel articulation and its further decline in the course of the disease in PD. Since impairment of vowel articulation was found to be independent from global motor function but correlated to gait dysfunction, measurement of vowel articulation might have a potential to serve as a marker of axial disease progression.
Project description:Purpose. To investigate changes in vowel articulation with the electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in dysarthric speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods. Eight Quebec-French speakers diagnosed with idiopathic PD who had undergone STN DBS were evaluated ON-stimulation and OFF-stimulation (1 hour after DBS was turned off). Vowel articulation was compared ON-simulation versus OFF-stimulation using acoustic vowel space and formant centralization ratio, calculated with the first (F1) and second formant (F2) of the vowels /i/, /u/, and /a/. The impact of the preceding consonant context on articulation, which represents a measure of coarticulation, was also analyzed as a function of the stimulation state. Results. Maximum vowel articulation increased during ON-stimulation. Analyses also indicate that vowel articulation was modulated by the consonant context but this relationship did not change with STN DBS. Conclusions. Results suggest that STN DBS may improve articulation in dysarthric speakers with PD, in terms of range of movement. Optimization of the electrical parameters for each patient is important and may lead to improvement in speech fine motor control. However, the impact on overall speech intelligibility may still be small. Clinical considerations are discussed and new research avenues are suggested.
Project description:Purpose. To investigate the impact of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN DBS) and levodopa intake on vowel articulation in dysarthric speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods. Vowel articulation was assessed in seven Quebec French speakers diagnosed with idiopathic PD who underwent STN DBS. Assessments were conducted on- and off-medication, first prior to surgery and then 1 year later. All recordings were made on-stimulation. Vowel articulation was measured using acoustic vowel space and formant centralization ratio. Results. Compared to the period before surgery, vowel articulation was reduced after surgery when patients were off-medication, while it was better on-medication. The impact of levodopa intake on vowel articulation changed with STN DBS: before surgery, levodopa impaired articulation, while it no longer had a negative effect after surgery. Conclusions. These results indicate that while STN DBS could lead to a direct deterioration in articulation, it may indirectly improve it by reducing the levodopa dose required to manage motor symptoms. These findings suggest that, with respect to speech production, STN DBS and levodopa intake cannot be investigated separately because the two are intrinsically linked. Along with motor symptoms, speech production should be considered when optimizing therapeutic management of patients with PD.
Project description:The impact of clear speech, increased vocal intensity, and rate reduction on acoustic characteristics of vowels was compared in speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD), speakers with multiple sclerosis (MS), and healthy controls.Speakers read sentences in habitual, clear, loud, and slow conditions. Variations in clarity, intensity, and rate were stimulated using magnitude production. Formant frequency values for peripheral and nonperipheral vowels were obtained at 20%, 50%, and 80% of vowel duration to derive static and dynamic acoustic measures. Intensity and duration measures were obtained.Rate was maximally reduced in the slow condition, and vocal intensity was maximized in the loud condition. The clear condition also yielded a reduced articulatory rate and increased intensity, although less than for the slow or loud conditions. Overall, the clear condition had the most consistent impact on vowel spectral characteristics. Spectral and temporal distinctiveness for peripheral-nonperipheral vowel pairs was largely similar across conditions.Clear speech maximized peripheral and nonperipheral vowel space areas for speakers with PD and MS while also reducing rate and increasing vocal intensity. These results suggest that a speech style focused on increasing articulatory amplitude yields the most robust changes in vowel segmental articulation.
Project description:Vowel reduction is a prominent feature of American English, as well as other stress-timed languages. As a phonological process, vowel reduction neutralizes multiple vowel quality contrasts in unstressed syllables. For bilinguals whose native language is not characterized by large spectral and durational differences between tonic and atonic vowels, systematically reducing unstressed vowels to the central vowel space can be problematic. Failure to maintain this pattern of stressed-unstressed syllables in American English is one key element that contributes to a "foreign accent" in second language speakers. Reduced vowels, or "schwas," have also been identified as particularly vulnerable to the co-articulatory effects of adjacent consonants. The current study examined the effects of adjacent sounds on the spectral and temporal qualities of schwa in word-final position. Three groups of English-speaking adults were tested: Miami-based monolingual English speakers, early Spanish-English bilinguals, and late Spanish-English bilinguals. Subjects performed a reading task to examine their schwa productions in fluent speech when schwas were preceded by consonants from various points of articulation. Results indicated that monolingual English and late Spanish-English bilingual groups produced targeted vowel qualities for schwa, whereas early Spanish-English bilinguals lacked homogeneity in their vowel productions. This extends prior claims that schwa is targetless for F2 position for native speakers to highly-proficient bilingual speakers. Though spectral qualities lacked homogeneity for early Spanish-English bilinguals, early bilinguals produced schwas with near native-like vowel duration. In contrast, late bilinguals produced schwas with significantly longer durations than English monolinguals or early Spanish-English bilinguals. Our results suggest that the temporal properties of a language are better integrated into second language phonologies than spectral qualities. Finally, we examined the role of nonstructural variables (e.g. linguistic history measures) in predicting native-like vowel duration. These factors included: Age of L2 learning, amount of L1 use, and self-reported bilingual dominance. Our results suggested that different sociolinguistic factors predicted native-like reduced vowel duration than predicted native-like vowel qualities across multiple phonetic environments.
Project description:This study was designed to test two hypotheses about apraxia of speech (AOS) derived from the Directions Into Velocities of Articulators (DIVA) model (Guenther et al., 2006): the feedforward system deficit hypothesis and the feedback system deficit hypothesis.The authors used noise masking to minimize auditory feedback during speech. Six speakers with AOS and aphasia, 4 with aphasia without AOS, and 2 groups of speakers without impairment (younger and older adults) participated. Acoustic measures of vowel contrast, variability, and duration were analyzed.Younger, but not older, speakers without impairment showed significantly reduced vowel contrast with noise masking. Relative to older controls, the AOS group showed longer vowel durations overall (regardless of masking condition) and a greater reduction in vowel contrast under masking conditions. There were no significant differences in variability. Three of the 6 speakers with AOS demonstrated the group pattern. Speakers with aphasia without AOS did not differ from controls in contrast, duration, or variability.The greater reduction in vowel contrast with masking noise for the AOS group is consistent with the feedforward system deficit hypothesis but not with the feedback system deficit hypothesis; however, effects were small and not present in all individual speakers with AOS. Theoretical implications and alternative interpretations of these findings are discussed.
Project description:Children acquire vowels earlier than consonants, and the former are less vulnerable to speech disorders than the latter. This study explores the hypothesis that a similar contrast exists later in life and that consonants are more vulnerable to ageing than vowels. Data was obtained with two experiments comparing the speech of Younger Adults (YAs) and Middle-aged Adults (MAs). In the first experiment an Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) system was trained with a balanced corpus of 29 YAs and 27 MAs. The productions of each speaker were obtained in a Spanish language word (W) and non-word (NW) repetition task. The performance of the system was evaluated with the same corpus used for training using a cross validation approach. The ASR system recognized to a similar extent the Ws of both groups of speakers, but it was more successful with the NWs of the YAs than with those of the MAs. Detailed error analysis revealed that the MA speakers scored below the YA speakers for consonants and also for the place and manner of articulation features; the results were almost identical in both groups of speakers for vowels and for the voicing feature. In the second experiment a group of healthy native listeners was asked to recognize isolated syllables presented with background noise. The target speakers were one YA and one MA that had taken part in the first experiment. The results were consistent with those of the ASR experiment: the manner and place of articulation were better recognized, and vowels and voicing were worse recognized, in the YA speaker than in the MA speaker. We conclude that consonant articulation is more vulnerable to ageing than vowel articulation. Future studies should explore whether or not these early and selective changes in articulation accuracy might be caused by changes in speech perception skills (e.g., in auditory temporal processing).
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vowel lenition and its link with coarticulation have been the subject of extensive debate in the literature. The aims of the present paper are to demonstrate how vowel lenition and coarticulation are linked in Cypriot Greek (henceforth CG), to determine the nature of vowel lenition, and to illustrate how vowel lenition and coarticulation result from aerodynamic phenomena. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Eight speakers were recorded producing utterances ending in either /i/ or /u/. Acoustic measures such as V(1)F2 and stop duration were employed to determine whether lenition of the vowels results in coarticulation with the preceding consonant. Results show that there is extensive stop-vowel coarticulation in CG and that stop production is as variable as vowel production, with full vowels never co-occurring with canonical consonants, indicating the existence of two routes to lenition in CG. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that lenition in the final syllable is a consequence of the supralaryngeal articulation coupled with a marginal glottal setting.
Project description:Auditory speech perception enables listeners to access phonological categories from speech sounds. During speech production and speech motor learning, speakers' experience matched auditory and somatosensory input. Accordingly, access to phonetic units might also be provided by somatosensory information. The present study assessed whether humans can identify vowels using somatosensory feedback, without auditory feedback. A tongue-positioning task was used in which participants were required to achieve different tongue postures within the /e, ?, a/ articulatory range, in a procedure that was totally nonspeech like, involving distorted visual feedback of tongue shape. Tongue postures were measured using electromagnetic articulography. At the end of each tongue-positioning trial, subjects were required to whisper the corresponding vocal tract configuration with masked auditory feedback and to identify the vowel associated with the reached tongue posture. Masked auditory feedback ensured that vowel categorization was based on somatosensory feedback rather than auditory feedback. A separate group of subjects was required to auditorily classify the whispered sounds. In addition, we modeled the link between vowel categories and tongue postures in normal speech production with a Bayesian classifier based on the tongue postures recorded from the same speakers for several repetitions of the /e, ?, a/ vowels during a separate speech production task. Overall, our results indicate that vowel categorization is possible with somatosensory feedback alone, with an accuracy that is similar to the accuracy of the auditory perception of whispered sounds, and in congruence with normal speech articulation, as accounted for by the Bayesian classifier.
Project description:Purpose Previous studies of speech articulation have shown that individuals who can perceive smaller differences between similar-sounding phonemes showed larger contrasts in their productions of those phonemes. Here, a similar relationship was examined between the perception and production of breathy voice quality. Method Twenty females with healthy voices were recruited to participate in both a voice production and a perception experiment. Each participant produced repetitions of a sustained vowel, and acoustic correlates of breathiness were calculated. Identification and discrimination tasks were performed with a series of synthetic stimuli along a breathiness continuum. Categorical boundary location and boundary width were obtained from the identification task as a measurement of perception of breathiness. Spearman's correlation analysis was performed to estimate associations between values of boundary location and width and the acoustic correlates of breathiness from the participants' voices. Results Significant correlations between boundary width (r = -.53 to -.6) and some acoustic correlates were found, but no significant relationships were observed between boundary location and the acoustic correlates. Conclusions Speakers with small boundary widths, which suggest higher perceptual precision in differentiating breathiness, had typical voices that were less breathy, as estimated with acoustic measures, compared to speakers with large boundary widths. Our findings may support a link between perception and production of breathy voice quality. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.9808478.
Project description:This paper presents a large-scale study of subglottal resonances (SGRs) (the resonant frequencies of the tracheo-bronchial tree) and their relations to various acoustical and physiological characteristics of speakers. The paper presents data from a corpus of simultaneous microphone and accelerometer recordings of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words embedded in a carrier phrase spoken by 25 male and 25 female native speakers of American English ranging in age from 18 to 24 yr. The corpus contains 17,500 utterances of 14 American English monophthongs, diphthongs, and the rhotic approximant [[inverted r]] in various CVC contexts. Only monophthongs are analyzed in this paper. Speaker height and age were also recorded. Findings include (1) normative data on the frequency distribution of SGRs for young adults, (2) the dependence of SGRs on height, (3) the lack of a correlation between SGRs and formants or the fundamental frequency, (4) a poor correlation of the first SGR with the second and third SGRs but a strong correlation between the second and third SGRs, and (5) a significant effect of vowel category on SGR frequencies, although this effect is smaller than the measurement standard deviations and therefore negligible for practical purposes.