European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 267, Issue 11, pp 1719–1725 | Cite as

The use of automatic speech recognition showing the influence of nasality on speech intelligibility

  • S. MayrEmail author
  • K. Burkhardt
  • M. Schuster
  • K. Rogler
  • A. Maier
  • H. Iro


Altered nasality influences speech intelligibility. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) has proved suitable for quantifying speech intelligibility in patients with different degrees of nasal emissions. We investigated the influence of hyponasality on the results of speech recognition before and after nasal surgery using ASR. Speech recordings, nasal peak inspiratory flow and self-perception measurements were carried out in 20 German-speaking patients (8 women, 12 men; aged 38 ± 22 years) who underwent surgery for various nasal and sinus pathologies. The degree of speech intelligibility was quantified as the percentage of correctly recognized words of a standardized word chain by ASR (word recognition rate; WR). WR was measured 1 day before (t1), 1 day after with nasal packings (t2), and 3 months after (t3) surgery; nasal peak flow on t1 and t3. WR was calculated with program for the automatic evaluation of all kinds of speech disorders (PEAKS). WR as a parameter of speech intelligibility was significantly decreased immediately after surgery (t1 vs. t2 p < 0.01) but increased 3 months after surgery (t2 vs. t3 p < 0.01). WR showed no association with age or gender. There was no significant difference between WR at t1 and t3, despite a post-operative increase in nasal peak inspiratory flow measurements. The results show that ASR is capable of quantifying the influence of hyponasality on speech; nasal obstruction leads to significantly reduced WR and nasal peak flow cannot replace evaluation of nasality.


Sinus surgery Nasality Speech intelligibility Automatic speech recognition Word recognition rate Nasal peak inspiratory flow 



We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Julia von Ochsenstein and Anika Ströbele for their great support in performing this study.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Mayr
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Burkhardt
    • 1
  • M. Schuster
    • 2
  • K. Rogler
    • 1
  • A. Maier
    • 3
  • H. Iro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Hospital, University Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Division of Phoniatrics and PedaudiologyUniversity Hospital, University Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Pattern Recognition Lab, School of EngineeringUniversity Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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