Symptom Expression Across Voiced Speech Sounds in Adductor Laryngeal Dystonia

Published:November 21, 2022DOI:



      Differential diagnosis for adductor laryngeal dystonia (AdLD) is often carried out by comparing symptom expression during sentences with either all voiced or voiced and voiceless consonants. However, empirical research examining the effects of phonetic context on symptoms is sparse. The purpose of this study was to examine whether symptom probabilities varied across voiced speech segments in an all-voiced sentence, and whether this variability was systematic with respect to phonetic features.


      Eighteen speakers with AdLD read aloud a sentence comprised entirely of voiced speech sounds. Speech segment boundaries and AdLD symptoms (phonatory breaks, frequency shifts, and creak) were labeled separately, and speech segments were coded as symptomatic or asymptomatic based on their temporal overlap. Generalized linear mixed effects models with a binomial outcome variable were used to compare the probability of symptom expression across: 1) all speech segments in the sentence, and 2) four speech sound classes (vowels, approximants, nasals, and obstruents).


      Significant symptom variability was found across voiced speech segments in the sentence. Furthermore, the estimated probability of a symptom occurring on vowels and approximants was significantly greater than that of nasals and obstruents.


      These results indicate that AdLD symptoms are not uniformly distributed across voiced speech segments with systematic variation across speech sound classes.To explain these findings, future work should investigate how the complex interactions between the vocal tract articulators and glottal configurations may influence symptom expression in this population.

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