Speech timing changes accompany speech entrainment in aphasia.

Affiliation

Feenaughty L(1), Basilakos A(2), Bonilha L(3), Fridriksson J(4).
Author information:
(1)Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 29425, USA; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(3)Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 29425, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(4)Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prior speech entrainment studies, where individuals with non-fluent aphasia mimic an audio-visual model, suggest speech entrainment improves speech fluency, as indexed by various linguistic measures (e.g., the total number of different words produced per minute). Here, more precise speech timing adjustments accompanying entrained speech were studied and compared to spontaneous speech to determine how these temporal variables relate to the fluency inducing effects of speech entrainment in aphasia. METHODS: Thirty-one left hemisphere stroke survivors classified with fluent or non-fluent speech were audio-video recorded as they described a picture and during speech entrainment. Speech fluency was documented using the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised. Acoustic measures of speech timing included total number of syllables, speech rate, articulatory rate, silent pause frequency and duration. Standard descriptive statistics and a two-factor mixed model analysis of variance were used to investigate group, task, and 'group x task' interaction effects. FINDINGS: All acoustic measures of speech timing differentiated the fluent and nonfluent groups except for silent pause frequency. Differences between speech entrainment and spontaneous speech were found for most acoustic measures of speech timing and speaker groups, yet the direction of the effect varied. Stroke survivors classified with non-fluent aphasia improved speech fluency such that speech entrainment elicited pause adjustments facilitating more typical speech timing in comparison to spontaneous speech. CONCLUSION: Overall, findings provide further evidence of the impact of speech entrainment on measures of speech timing to help individuals with non-fluent aphasia to practice speaking more fluently. Practicing speaking more fluently may ultimately impact perceptual judgments of speech naturalness and social acceptance for persons with aphasia.