Study of the performance of automatic speech recognition systems in speakers with Parkinson's Disease

Laureano Moro-Velazquez, Jaejin Cho, Shinji Watanabe, Mark A. Hasegawa-Johnson, Odette Scharenborg, Heejin Kim, Najim Dehak

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Parkinson's Disease (PD) affects motor capabilities of patients, who in some cases need to use human-computer assistive technologies to regain independence. The objective of this work is to study in detail the differences in error patterns from state-of-the-art Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems on speech from people with and without PD. Two different speech recognizers (attention-based end-to-end and Deep Neural Network - Hidden Markov Models hybrid systems) were trained on a Spanish language corpus and subsequently tested on speech from 43 speakers with PD and 46 without PD. The differences related to error rates, substitutions, insertions and deletions of characters and phonetic units between the two groups were analyzed, showing that the word error rate is 27% higher in speakers with PD than in control speakers, with a moderated correlation between that rate and the developmental stage of the disease. The errors were related to all manner classes, and were more pronounced in the vowel /u/. This study is the first to evaluate ASR systems' responses to speech from patients at different stages of PD in Spanish. The analyses showed general trends but individual speech deficits must be studied in the future when designing new ASR systems for this population.


  • Automatic speech recognition
  • Deep neural networks
  • Dysarthria
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Word error rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Signal Processing
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation


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