Improving the intelligibility of dysarthric speech

Alexander B. Kain, John Paul Hosom, Xiaochuan Niu, Jan P.H. van Santen, Melanie Fried-Oken, Janice Staehely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Dysarthria is a speech motor disorder usually resulting in a substantive decrease in speech intelligibility by the general population. In this study, we have significantly improved the intelligibility of dysarthric vowels of one speaker from 48% to 54%, as evaluated by a vowel identification task using 64 CVC stimuli judged by 24 listeners. Improvement was obtained by transforming the vowels of a speaker with dysarthria to more closely match the vowel space of a non-dysarthric (target) speaker. The optimal mapping feature set, from a list of 21 candidate feature sets, proved to be one utilizing vowel duration and F1-F3 stable points, which were calculated using shape-constrained isotonic regression. The choice of speaker-specific or speaker-independent vowel formant targets appeared to be insignificant. Comparisons with "oracle" conditions were performed in order to evaluate the analysis/re-synthesis system independently of the transformation function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-759
Number of pages17
JournalSpeech Communication
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Dysarthria
  • Intelligibility
  • Speech modification
  • Speech processing
  • Speech transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications


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