Objective Acoustic-Phonetic Speech Analysis in Patients Treated for Oral or Oropharyngeal Cancer

M.J. de Bruijn, L. ten Bosch, D.J. Kuik, H. Quene, J.A. Langendijk, C.R. Leemans, I.M. de Leeuw

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Objective: Speech impairment often occurs in patients after treatment for head and neck cancer. New treatment modalities such as surgical reconstruction or (chemo) radiation techniques aim at sparing anatomical structures that are correlated with speech and swallowing. In randomized trials investigating efficacy of various treatment modalities or speech rehabilitation, objective speech analysis techniques may add to improve speech outcome assessment. The goal of the present study is to investigate the role of objective acoustic-phonetic analyses in a multidimensional speech assessment protocol. Patients and Methods: Speech recordings of 51 patients (6 months after reconstructive surgery and postoperative radiotherapy for oral or oropharyngeal cancer) and of 18 control speakers were subjectively evaluated regarding intelligibility, nasal resonance, articulation, and patient-reported speech outcome (speech subscale of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Head and Neck 35 module). Acoustic-phonetic analyses were performed to calculate formant values of the vowels /a, i, u/, vowel space, air pressure release of /k/ and spectral slope of /x/. Results: Intelligibility, articulation, and nasal resonance were best predicted by vowel space and /k/. Within patients, /k/ and /x/ differentiated tumor site and stage. Various objective speech parameters were related to speech problems as reported by patients. Conclusion: Objective acoustic-phonetic analysis of speech of patients is feasible and contributes to further development of a speech assessment protocol. Copyright (C) 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)180-187
JournalFolia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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