The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of intensive speech treatment on the conversational intelligibility of Castilian Spanish speakers with Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as on the speakers’ self-perceptions of disability.
Fifteen speakers with a medical diagnosis of PD participated in this study. Speech recordings were completed twice before treatment, immediately posttreatment, and at a 1-month follow-up session. Conversational intelligibility was assessed in 2 ways—transcription accuracy scores and intelligibility ratings on a 9-point Likert scale. The Voice Handicap Index (Núñez-Batalla et al., 2007) was administered as a measure of self-perceived disability.
Group data revealed that transcription accuracy and median ease-of-understanding ratings increased significantly immediately posttreatment, with gains maintained at the 1-month follow-up. The functional subscale of the Voice Handicap Index decreased significantly posttreatment, suggesting a decrease in perceived communication disability after speech treatment.
These findings support the implementation of intensive voice treatment to improve conversational intelligibility in Spanish speakers with PD with dysarthria as well as to improve the speakers’ perception of their daily communicative capabilities. Clinical and theoretical considerations are discussed.
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