Predicting Speech Intelligibility Decline in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Based on the Deterioration of Individual Speech Subsystems


Purpose: To determine the mechanisms of speech intelligibility impairment due to neurologic impairments, intelligibility decline was modeled as a function of co-occurring changes in the articulatory, resonatory, phonatory, and respiratory subsystems.; Method: Sixty-six individuals diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were studied longitudinally. The disease-related changes in articulatory, resonatory, phonatory, and respiratory subsystems were quantified using multiple instrumental measures, which were subjected to a principal component analysis and mixed effects models to derive a set of speech subsystem predictors. A stepwise approach was used to select the best set of subsystem predictors to model the overall decline in intelligibility.; Results: Intelligibility was modeled as a function of five predictors that corresponded to velocities of lip and jaw movements (articulatory), number of syllable repetitions in the alternating motion rate task (articulatory), nasal airflow (resonatory), maximum fundamental frequency (phonatory), and speech pauses (respiratory). The model accounted for 95.6% of the variance in intelligibility, among which the articulatory predictors showed the most substantial independent contribution (57.7%).; Conclusion: Articulatory impairments characterized by reduced velocities of lip and jaw movements and resonatory impairments characterized by increased nasal airflow served as the subsystem predictors of the longitudinal decline of speech intelligibility in ALS. Declines in maximum performance tasks such as the alternating motion rate preceded declines in intelligibility, thus serving as early predictors of bulbar dysfunction. Following the rapid decline in speech intelligibility, a precipitous decline in maximum performance tasks subsequently occurred.;


Includes supplementary material


Language disorders, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Cognition disorders, Principal components analysis, Bioacoustics, Speech disorders

National Institute of Health—National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants (R01 DC009890, R01DC0135470); Canadian Institute of Health Research Planning Grant (FRN126682).


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2016 The Authors. All Rights Reserved.