SIV-Speech clarity, Intelligibility & Voice : Development of a speech assessment tool for use by healthprofessionals who work with patients treated with DeepBrain Stimulation
Background: Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Essential tremor (ET) who havebeen treated with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) generally experience a positive effect,particularly regarding the motor symptoms. However, the patients’ communication skillsare often negatively affected and the assessment instrument currently used withinneurological clinical care is not sufficiently sensitive to assess these patients’ speechclarity, voice and intelligibility satisfactorily.Aim: This study’s purpose was to develop a prototype assessment tool for speech clarity,intelligibility and voice, with speech and language pathology (SLP) validity, that isadaptable to a neurological clinical care setting.Method: The assessment tool was designed using general design methodology. Aprototype was constructed and tested on speech samples of read text for reliability. ThreeSLP’s, three DBS nurses and three naive listeners (NL) were represented in the test group.Levels of agreement were calculated using Percent Close Agreement, PCA.Results: The results indicate a relatively high level of agreement between the groups, inparticular the SLP group and the DBS group (μ: 0.82, 0.79, and 0.74).Conclusion: The results demonstrate the need for an assessment tool with SLPcompetence to assess speech clarity, intelligibility and voice within neurological clinicalcare. The assessment tool was shown to be a useful and adequate prototype that can easilyevolve into a truly useful and versatile perceptual speech assessment tool. The results ofthis study should be treated cautiously, considering the test groups’ modest size.
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