No AccessAmerican Journal of Speech-Language PathologyResearch Article17 May 2017

The Effect of Information and Severity on Perception of Speakers With Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia

    Purpose

    The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of severity of adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) and information about it on unfamiliar listeners' attitudes about speakers' personal characteristics, perceived vocal effort, and listener comfort on the basis of ratings of speech recordings.

    Method

    Fifteen women with ADSD and 5 controls provided speech samples. Forty-five unfamiliar listeners were randomized into 3 groups. Listeners in Group 1 received no information, listeners in Group 2 were told that some speakers had voice disorders or had no voice concerns, and listeners in Group 3 were provided diagnostic labels for each speaker and information about ADSD. Listeners then rated speech samples for attitudes, perceived vocal effort, and listener comfort.

    Results

    Speakers with ADSD were judged significantly worse than controls for attitudes related to “social desirability” and “intellect.” There was no effect of severity on “personality” attributes. However, provision of a diagnostic label resulted in significantly more favorable personality ratings than when no label was provided. Perceived vocal effort and comfort became significantly more negative as ADSD severity increased. Finally, most listener ratings were unaffected by provision of additional information about ADSD.

    Conclusions

    Listeners' perceptions about speakers with ADSD are difficult to change. Directions for counseling and public education need future study.

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