Speech production and sensory impairment in mild Parkinson's disease

Yu Wen Chen, Peter J Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Little is known about speech-related sensory systems and the link to speech in Parkinson's disease (PD). This study investigates auditory and somatosensory acuity and their association to speech in PD, using /s/ and /ʃ/ as speech targets. Ten adults with mild PD and ten age- and gender-matched healthy participants performed three tasks. In the auditory task, participants discriminated three aperiodic sounds acoustically modified from /s/ and /ʃ/ and differing in spectral shapes. In the tactile task, they judged the orientation of a dome-shaped grating probe gently touching their tongue tip. Measures of auditory and tactile acuity were determined based on participants' responses. For the production task, participants read a passage and eight sentences with /s/- and /ʃ/-initial words; acoustic contrast between the two sibilants was measured using difference between the average first spectral moments of /s/ and /ʃ/. The PD participants showed reduced auditory acuity of spectral sibilant contrast and reduced tactile acuity of the tongue tip. For speech production, the PD group showed smaller sibilant contrast in the sentence readings, but the difference was not statistically significant. Correlation analyses showed significant correlations between tactile acuity and sibilant contrast for the PD group, but not for auditory task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3030-3041
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


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