University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Everyday listeners’ impressions of speech produced by individuals with adductor spasmodic dysphonia


Nagle KF, Eadie TL., Yorkston, KM.



Publication Info:

Journal of Communication Disorders, 58:1-13


Individuals with adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) have reported that unfamiliar communication partners appear to judge them as sneaky, nervous or not intelligent, apparently based on the quality of their speech; however, there is minimal research into the actual everyday perspective of listening to ADSD speech. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impressions of listeners hearing ADSD speech for the first time using a mixed-methods design. Everyday listeners were interviewed following sessions in which they made ratings of ADSD speech. A semi-structured interview approach was used and data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Three major themes emerged: (1) everyday listeners make judgments about speakers with ADSD; (2) ADSD speech does not sound normal to everyday listeners; and (3) rating overall severity is difficult for everyday listeners. Participants described ADSD speech similarly to existing literature; however, some listeners inaccurately extrapolated speaker attributes based solely on speech samples. Listeners may draw erroneous conclusions about individuals with ADSD and these biases may affect the communicative success of these individuals. Results have implications for counseling individuals with ADSD, as well as the need for education and awareness about ADSD.

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