This study proposes an automatic method for the detection of pauses and identification of pause types in conversational speech for the purpose of measuring the effects of Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA) on speech. Speech samples of ∼ 3 minutes were recorded from 13 speakers with FRDA and 18 healthy controls. Pauses were measured from the intensity contour and fit with bimodal lognormal distributions using the Expectation-Maximization algorithm in Matlab©. In the speakers with FRDA, both modes in the pause distributions had significantly larger means, with disproportionately fewer pauses associated with the first mode. From this preliminary study, it is concluded that distributional analysis of pause duration holds promise as a useful method of measuring the effects of FRDA on functional speech.
- Acoustic measurement