An analysis of degenerating speech due to progressive dysarthria on ASR performance

Katie Seaver
Richard Cave
Jordan R. Green


Although personalized automatic speech recognition (ASR) models have recently been improved to recognize even severely impaired speech, model performance may degrade over time for persons with degenerating speech. The aims of this study were to (1) analyze the change of performance of ASR over time in individuals with degrading speech, and (2) explore mitigation strategies to optimize recognition throughout disease progression. Speech was recorded by four individuals with degrading speech due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Word error rates (WER) across recording sessions were computed for three ASR models: Unadapted Speaker Independent (U-SI), Adapted Speaker Independent (A-SI), and Adapted Speaker Dependent (A-SD or personalized). The performance of all models degraded significantly over time as speech became more impaired, but the A-SD model improved markedly when updated with recordings from the severe stages of speech progression. Recording additional utterances early in the disease before significant speech degradation did not improve the performance of A-SD models. This emphasizes the importance of continuous recording (and model retraining) when providing personalized models for individuals with progressive speech impairments.