Discriminating Dysarthria Type From Envelope Modulation Spectra

    Purpose

    Previous research demonstrated the ability of temporally based rhythm metrics to distinguish among dysarthrias with different prosodic deficit profiles (J. M. Liss et al., 2009). The authors examined whether comparable results could be obtained by an automated analysis of speech envelope modulation spectra (EMS), which quantifies the rhythmicity of speech within specified frequency bands.

    Method

    EMS was conducted on sentences produced by 43 speakers with 1 of 4 types of dysarthria and healthy controls. The EMS consisted of the spectra of the slow-rate (up to 10 Hz) amplitude modulations of the full signal and 7 octave bands ranging in center frequency from 125 to 8000 Hz. Six variables were calculated for each band relating to peak frequency and amplitude and relative energy above, below, and in the region of 4 Hz. Discriminant function analyses (DFA) determined which sets of predictor variables best discriminated between and among groups.

    Results

    Each of 6 DFAs identified 2–6 of the 48 predictor variables. These variables achieved 84%–100% classification accuracy for group membership.

    Conclusions

    Dysarthrias can be characterized by quantifiable temporal patterns in acoustic output. Because EMS analysis is automated and requires no editing or linguistic assumptions, it shows promise as a clinical and research tool.

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