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About 90 percent of people with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience decreased functional communication due to the presence of voice and speech disorders associated with dysarthria that can be characterized by monotony of pitch (or fundamental frequency), reduced loudness, irregular rate of speech, imprecise consonants, and changes in voice quality. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with patients with PD to improve speech intelligibility using various intensive in-clinic speech treatments. SLPs also prescribe home exercises to enhance generalization of speech strategies outside of the treatment room. Even though speech therapies are found to be highly effective in improving vocal loudness and speech quality, patients with PD find it difficult to follow the prescribed exercise regimes outside the clinic and to continue exercises once the treatment is completed. SLPs need techniques to monitor compliance and accuracy of their patients' exercises at home and in ecologically valid communication situations. We have designed EchoWear, a smartwatch-based system, to remotely monitor speech and voice exercises as prescribed by SLPs. We conducted a study of 6 individuals; three with PD and three healthy controls. To assess the performance of EchoWear technology compared with high-quality audio equipment obtained in a speech laboratory. Our preliminary analysis shows promising outcomes for using EchoWear in speech therapies for people with PD.


Leslie A. Mahler is from the Department of Communicative Disorders.

Harishchandra Dubey, Jon C. Goldberg, Mohammadreza Abtahi and Kunal Mankodiya are from the Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering.