Clear Speech Variants: An Acoustic Study in Parkinson's Disease.
PURPOSE The authors investigated how clear speech instructions influence sentence intelligibility. METHOD Twelve speakers produced sentences in habitual, clear, hearing impaired, and overenunciate conditions. Stimuli were amplitude normalized and mixed with multitalker babble for orthographic transcription by 40 listeners. The main analysis investigated percentage-correct intelligibility scores as a function of the 4 conditions and speaker sex. Additional analyses included listener response variability, individual speaker trends, and an alternate intelligibility measure: proportion of content words correct. RESULTS Relative to the habitual condition, the overenunciate condition was associated with the greatest intelligibility benefit, followed by the hearing impaired and clear conditions. Ten speakers followed this trend. The results indicated different patterns of clear speech benefit for male and female speakers. Greater listener variability was observed for speakers with inherently low habitual intelligibility compared to speakers with inherently high habitual intelligibility. Stable proportions of content words were observed across conditions. CONCLUSIONS Clear speech instructions affected the magnitude of the intelligibility benefit. The instruction to overenunciate may be most effective in clear speech training programs. The findings may help explain the range of clear speech intelligibility benefit previously reported. Listener variability analyses suggested the importance of obtaining multiple listener judgments of intelligibility, especially for speakers with inherently low habitual intelligibility.