Multiple phonetically trained-listener comparisons of speech before and after articulatory intervention in two children with repaired submucous cleft palate

Zoe Roxburgh, Joanne Cleland, James M. Scobbie

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In Cleft Palate (CP) assessments based on phonetic transcription are the "gold standard" therapy outcome measure, despite reliability difficulties. Here we propose a novel perceptual evaluation, applied to ultrasound-visual biofeedback (U-VBF) therapy and therapy using visual articulatory models (VAMs) for two children with repaired submucous CP.
Three comparisons were made: post VAM, post U-VBF and overall pre- and post-therapy. Twenty-two phonetically-trained listeners were asked to determine whether pre- or post-therapy recordings sounded "closer to the English target", using their own implicit stored knowledge (prompted via orthographic representation) as a comparison. Results are compared with segment-oriented percent target consonant correct (PTCC) derived from phonetic transcriptions by the authors.
Listener judgments and PTCC suggest that both children made improvements using both VAM and U-VBF. Statistical analysis showed listener agreement across all three comparisons, despite agreement being poor. This perceptual evaluation offers a straightforward method of evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and can be used by phonetically trained or lay listeners.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalClinical Linguistics & Phonetics
Early online date22 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Feb 2016


  • ultrasound
  • visual articulatory models
  • perceptual speech evaluation
  • cleft palate

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