Impact of Age in ASR for the Elderly: Preliminary Experiments in European Portuguese


Thomas Pellegrini


  • 15:00, Friday, November 16th, 2012
  • Room 336



Standard automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems use acoustic models typically trained with speech of young adult speakers. Ageing is known to alter speech production in ways that require ASR systems to be adapted, in particular at the level of acoustic modeling. This paper reports ASR experiments that illustrate the impact of speaker age on speech recognition performance. A large read speech corpus in European Portuguese allowed us to measure statistically significant performance differences among age groups ranging from 60- to 90-year-old speakers. An increase of 41% relative (11.9% absolute) in word error rate was observed between 60-65-year-old and 81-86-year-old speakers. This paper also reports experiments on retraining acoustic models (AMs), further illustrating the impact of ageing on ASR performance. Differentiated gains were observed depending on the age range of the adaptation data use to retrain the acoustic models.