Published on Wed Feb 10 2021

NUVA: A Naming Utterance Verifier for Aphasia Treatment

David Sabate Barbera, Mark Huckvale, Victoria Fleming, Emily Upton, Henry Coley-Fisher, Catherine Doogan, Ian Shaw, William Latham, Alexander P. Leff, Jenny Crinion

Anomia (word-finding difficulties) is the hallmark of aphasia, an acquired language disorder most commonly caused by stroke. Currently, this assessment is conducted manually by speech and language therapists. Here we present NUVA, an utterance verification system incorporating adeep learning

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Abstract

Anomia (word-finding difficulties) is the hallmark of aphasia, an acquired language disorder most commonly caused by stroke. Assessment of speech performance using picture naming tasks is a key method for both diagnosis and monitoring of responses to treatment interventions by people with aphasia (PWA). Currently, this assessment is conducted manually by speech and language therapists (SLT). Surprisingly, despite advancements in automatic speech recognition (ASR) and artificial intelligence with technologies like deep learning, research on developing automated systems for this task has been scarce. Here we present NUVA, an utterance verification system incorporating a deep learning element that classifies 'correct' versus' incorrect' naming attempts from aphasic stroke patients. When tested on eight native British-English speaking PWA the system's performance accuracy ranged between 83.6% to 93.6%, with a 10-fold cross-validation mean of 89.5%. This performance was not only significantly better than a baseline created for this study using one of the leading commercially available ASRs (Google speech-to-text service) but also comparable in some instances with two independent SLT ratings for the same dataset.