Background: There is a high incidence and prevalence of stroke in India and communication impairments following it is commonly reported such as dysarthria, dysphagia, aphasia, apraxia. Dysarthria is a frequent and persisting sequel of stroke which poses challenges in individual’s life; however, it has received limited attention in literature. Moreover, there is sparse data available in Indian context hence the present research was planned. The study aimed at investigating speech characteristics, speech intelligibility and global severity of dysarthria in individuals following stroke. It also investigated various factors that influence the speech intelligibility and global severity of dysarthria. Methods: Forty-eight individuals with dysarthria following first ever stroke with mean age of 61 years participated in the study. Presence of stroke was confirmed by medical professional based on CT and/or MRI along with clinical evaluation. Perceptual assessment of speech was carried out and participants were classified into different dysarthria types based on Mayo clinic system by an SLP followed by assessment of speech intelligibility and global dysarthria severity. Results: Imprecise articulation, slow speaking rate, hoarse voice, monopitch and monoloudness were the common speech characteristics presented by most participants irrespective of dysarthria type. Further, presence of unilateral upper motor neuron dysarthria was frequently observed followed by spastic type. Speech intelligibility and global severity of dysarthria was impaired ranging from mild to severe in individuals with dysarthria. There was an association of some factors with speech intelligibility and/or global severity such as type of lesion, type of dysarthria, postural control, locomotion and activities of daily living. Conclusions: This study presents some speech characteristics common to individuals with dysarthria following stroke irrespective of dysarthria type. It also highlights the factors which contribute majorly to reduced speech intelligibility and/or global severity.
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