Reporting Case Studies: The Effects of Familiar, Unfamiliar Music and Audiobooks Exposure on Speech Parameters of Elderly With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a widespread elderly cognitive condition where neurodegeneration happens quickly as a result of reduced brain function. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, there have been several studies connecting music memory with cognition. This multiple case study (n=3) aims to examine the impact of familiar and unfamiliar music on the fundamental frequency of speech (F0), range of intensity, and speech rate of 3 elderly Alzheimer’s disease participants. The speech parameters were measured longitudinally over a span of 21 weeks following exposure to common and unfamiliar music. A listening assignment to an audiobook was viewed as supervision. Data showed that there was wide variability in performance in all of these topics, with no common trend for familiar music. For unfamiliar music, however, two subjects showed an improvement in their speech output. The third topic showed a rise in the F0 range. It is proposed that there could be further understanding of how common and new stimuli affect the development of speech in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The findings also indicate that unfamiliar music can have a substantial impact on the speech rate of subjects with AD, but the long-term influence of music on the speech production of these patients with Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to assess. Instead, the findings suggested that in Alzheimer’s disease patients there could be more to consider how familiar and novel stimuli affect speech development.

Author(s) Details

Fidelia Chan Xue Ning
Hearing & Speech Sciences Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, The National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Siti Zamratol Mai-Sarah Mukari
Institute of Ear, Hearing & Speech, The National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kartini Ahmad
Hearing&Speech Sciences Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, TheNational University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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