Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


UC study to help people with speech difficulties

UC study to help people with speech difficulties to correct how they speak

June 26, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) researcher has possibly found a way for people with speaking difficulties to correct their speech errors.

UC communication disorders PhD researcher Martina Schaefer wanted to examine whether the way people hear themselves affects the way they speak. The study, supervised by Associate Professor Megan McAuliffe, worked with healthy New Zealanders of various ages and people with Parkinson’s Disease.

``Currently, most treatment focuses on speech production techniques to improve intelligibility. However, it appears to be difficult for people with neurological speech impairments to maintain immediate treatment effects. My research interest was in the role of speech perception: If people cannot detect their speech errors, then how can they correct them? 

``It was important to differentiate between effects of age-related hearing loss and potential hearing deficiencies related to Parkinson's Disease.

``Our first study focused on 60 healthy New Zealanders of various ages. The aim was to determine whether the ability to detect and correct speech errors changed with age. We therefore acoustically modified what participants heard through a set of headphones. This created a mismatch between what they intended to say and what they actually heard themselves say.

``The overall results showed that, as a group, people tended to correct for the speech error regardless of what age they were.’’

Schaefer says New Zealanders tend to make less adjustments compared to Americans or Canadians, possibly due to the Kiwi dialect effect.

``We then compared the performance of people with neurological speech impairments to that of age-matched controls. Eight people with Parkinson’s Disease and eight healthy age-matched people were asked to mimic a model speaker and try to sound exactly like the model.

``My study suggests that older adults and those with Parkinson's Disease are both able to modify their speech to approximate the acoustic characteristics of a model speaker.

``People in the study who had Parkinson's Disease and more severe speech impairment were mimicking the model speaker less accurately compared to healthy speakers or those with mild speech impairment.

``So, while people with severe speech impairment were able to change their speech to some extent, it is important to explore if, and how, perceptual training may improve their error-detection, and hence, error-correction to improve their ability to mimic a model speaker.

``The overall initial findings showed that speech perception and speech production can at least, to some extent, be effectively integrated to induce error-correction mechanisms for people with Parkinson's Disease."

 

Photos: Martina Schaefer

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Auckland Transport: Government, Council Agree On Funding Approach

The government and Auckland Council have reached a detente over transport funding, establishing a one-year, collaborative timetable for decisions on funding for the city's transport infrastructure growth in the next 30 years after the government refused to fund the $2 billion of short and medium-term plans outlined in Auckland's draft Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

Bullish On China Shock: Slumping Equities, Commodities May Continue, But Not A GFC

The biggest selloff in stock markets in at least four years, slumping commodity prices and a surge in Wall Street's fear gauge don't mean the world economy is heading for another global financial crisis, fund managers say. More>>

ALSO:

Real Estate: Investors Driving Up Auckland Housing Risk - RBNZ

The growing presence of investors in Auckland's property market is increasing the risks, and is likely to both amplify the housing cycle and worsen the potential damage from a downturn both to the financial system and the broader economy, said Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer. More>>

ALSO:

Annual Record: Overseas Visitors Hit 3 Million Milestone

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand surpassed 3 million for the first time in the July 2015 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. The record-breaking 3,002,982 visitors this year was 7 percent higher than the July 2014 year. More>>

ALSO:

The Future: Thirty Year Infrastructure Plan Released

The Thirty Year New Zealand Infrastructure Plan 2015 sets out New Zealand’s response to the infrastructure challenges we will face over the next three decades, Finance Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Shopping: Online GST Discussion Document

GST: Cross-border services, intangibles and goods contains proposals to require overseas suppliers to register and return GST when they sell services (including online products such as e-books, music and videos) to New Zealand consumers. It also outlines the way forward for improving the collection of GST on all goods, including low-value imported goods. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news