Profiling Speech Motor Impairments in Persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Acoustic-Based Approach

Hannah P. Rowe, Jordan R. Green


The goal of this study was to profile the speech motor impairments that characterize dysarthria secondary to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This information is important for identifying optimal treatment strategies and guiding speech impairment subtype discovery, which may facilitate ongoing efforts to improve automatic speech recognition (ASR) of dysarthric speech. Speech motor impairments were profiled by introducing a novel framework that assesses four key components of motor control: coordination, consistency, speed, and precision. An individual acoustic feature was selected to represent each component. Specifically, coordination was indexed by the proportion of voice onset time (VOT) to syllable duration, consistency by the coefficient of variation of VOT between repetitions of /pataka/ within each distinct consonant, speed by the slope of the second formant (F2), and precision by the standard deviation of F2 slope between distinct consonants within each repetition of /pataka/. Acoustic measures were extracted from audio recordings of each participant (18 controls and 14 participants with ALS) during a sequential motion rate (SMR) task. Results revealed that the primary underlying speech motor impairments that characterize ALS are in coordination, speed, and precision. Further research is needed to validate the existence of speech-impairment-based subtypes across the continuum of speech motor disorders.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2911

Cite as: Rowe, H.P., Green, J.R. (2019) Profiling Speech Motor Impairments in Persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Acoustic-Based Approach. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 4509-4513, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2911.


@inproceedings{Rowe2019,
  author={Hannah P. Rowe and Jordan R. Green},
  title={{Profiling Speech Motor Impairments in Persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Acoustic-Based Approach}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={4509--4513},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2911},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2911}
}