Voice and speech of individuals with Parkinson s Disease during amplification, delay and masking situations

Sylvia Boechat Coutinho, Giovana Diaféria, Gisele Oliveira, Mara Behlau
Pró-fono: Revista de Atualização Científica 2009, 21 (3): 219-24

BACKGROUND: individuals with Parkinson's disease present voice and speech alterations, especially regarding loudness and speech rate.

AIM: to determine the immediate effect of modified auditory feedback: amplification, delay and masking in the voice and speech of individuals with Parkinson's disease, according to gender.

METHOD: twenty-six subjects with Parkinson's disease (15 men and 11 women) with ages ranging between 40 and 86 years (mean age of 69 years) participated in the study. The speech material consisted of the counting from twenty to zero, four times, in four different listening conditions: habitual, amplified, delayed and masked. The following parameters were selected for the auditory-perceptual analysis: vocal quality, loudness, pitch, overall strain level, speech rate and articulation. The assessment was carried out by five Speech-Language Pathologists specialists in voice. The following parameters were selected for the acoustic analysis: fundamental frequency, intensity and maximum phonation time.

RESULTS: regarding the auditory-perceptual analysis, an improvement in vocal quality, increase in loudness and overall strain level was observed in the masking situation. On the other hand, a decrease in vocal quality, a decrease in loudness and overall strain level, a decrease in speech rate and in articulation precision was observed in the amplification and delay situations. In the acoustic analysis, an increase in the fundamental frequency and vocal intensity was observed in the masking situation and an increase of the maximum phonation time was observed in the delay situation.

CONCLUSION: the masking situation presents better immediate effect in the voice and speech of individuals with Parkinson's disease while the amplification and delay situations do not produce satisfactory immediate modifications.

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