Predicting Intelligible Speaking Rate in Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis from a Small Number of Speech Acoustic and Articulatory Samples

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive neurological disease that affects the speech motor functions, resulting in dysarthria, a motor speech disorder. Speech and articulation deterioration is an indicator of the disease progression of ALS; timely monitoring of the disease progression is critical for clinical management of these patients. This paper investigated machine prediction of intelligible speaking rate of nine individuals with ALS based on a small number of speech acoustic and articulatory samples. Two feature selection techniques - decision tree and gradient boosting - were used with support vector regression for predicting the intelligible speaking rate. Experimental results demonstrated the feasibility of predicting intelligible speaking rate from only a small number of speech samples. Furthermore, adding articulatory features to acoustic features improved prediction performance, when decision tree was used as the feature selection technique.
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