What is it about?

Measuring the voice quality of people with complex neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is very important for assessment and intervention. In this study, we investigated the usefulness of a variety of methods used to measure voice quality from audio recordings, including some that have not been previously explored in ALS.

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Why is it important?

Our results showed that most of the measures work well for quantifying voice quality in ALS, especially from recordings of individuals saying "ah," supporting clinical use of these methods. However, we found that measuring voice quality from recordings of people speaking in sentences—which is more representative of normal behavior—is more complicated because individuals with ALS often have other speech problems (for example, slurred speech or a nasal voice) which likely interfere with acoustic measurements. This motivates future work to develop valid methods for voice assessment in neurodegenerative diseases.


The results of this study were even more interesting than we initially expected. Specifically, the interaction between voice quality and other aspects of speech production appears very significant and will be an important topic for future research.

Marc Maffei
MGH Institute of Health Professions

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Acoustic Measures of Dysphonia in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, February 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2022_jslhr-22-00363.
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