Inexperienced Listener Impressions of Speakers with Spasmodic Dysphonia

Document Type


Conference Title/Conference Publication

41st Annual Voice Foundation Symposium


The Voice Foundation


Philadelphia, PA

Conference Dates

May 30, 2012 - June 3, 2012

Date of Presentation



Objectives/Hypothesis: Adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) is characterized by uncontrolled spasms of intrinsic laryngeal muscles. Patients with ADSD report difficulties related to employment and reduced psychosocial well-being. No study has investigated how the speech produced by ADSD patients may also influence listeners’ attitudes about these speakers. The objectives of this study are to determine 1) if listeners’ attitudes toward speakers with ADSD differ from attitudes towards healthy control speakers; and 2) whether listeners’ attitudes towards speakers with ADSD are related to perceived strain or patient-rated vocal effort and voice-related quality of life.

Study Design: Experimental/Correlational

Methods: Twenty speakers with ADSD and 20 healthy age-and sex-matched controls provided speech recordings. ADSD speakers also completed the VHI and self-rated vocal effort. 40 inexperienced listeners will make judgments of speech samples for strain using visual analog scales and provide judgments of age, employability, confidence, and emotional stability using semantic differential scales.

Results: Group means of listeners’ judgments will be calculated across conditions. Multiple t-tests (Bonferroni corrections) will determine whether differences exist between control and ADSD speakers. Hypothesis: Listeners will judge those with ADSD more negatively and with increased strain. Additional linear regression analyses will be performed to determine if less favorable ratings made by listeners correlate with strain, patient-rated effort, and VHI scores

Conclusions: Results will reveal whether inexperienced listeners’ attitudes of those with ADSD differ from severity of speech and whether oft-reported psychosocial and employment difficulties relate to negative attitudes. Implications for counselling and education will be discussed.

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