Book: The Phonetics of Dysarthria
Chapter: 7. Speech Naturalness
Recent research on how individuals with Parkinson’s disease (hereafter PD) perceive that their communication has changed since onset of the disease reveals that most of these individuals feel a negative impact, one that includes fear of social interaction and withdrawal. As one participant in another study stated, “[Sometimes] I just can’t do the conversation, I just say, oh, I hope they don’t talk to us, you know, they’ll just say, hello, how are you, and walk away” (Miller, Noble, Jones, & Burn, 2006). The striking thing about the individuals in these studies is that these perceived changes and their impact on communication could occur before any apparent decline in intelligibility or referral to speech-language pathologists (Miller et al., 2006; Miller, Noble, Jones, Allcock, & Burn, 2008). One possible metric for this perceived communicative change for the worse in those with PD and their caretakers is speech naturalness (Martin, Haroldson, & Triden, 1984), a standard of measurement commonly used by speech-language pathologists and the subject of much research attempting to define its properties.