Text-to-speech technology effects on reading rate and comprehension by adults with traumatic brain injury

Judy Harvey, Karen Hux, Nikki Scott, Jeffry Snell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: This study's purpose was to examine the comprehension, rate and perceptions and reading preferences of adults with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) when reading passages with and without computerized text-to-speech (TTS) support. Design and methods: Nine adults with severe TBI read 24 passages in two conditions: with and without TTS support. The researchers compared reading rate and comprehension accuracy across conditions. Also, participants rated their perceived performance and reading preferences via a follow-up questionnaire. Results: Comparison to normative data revealed that all nine participants read slower than average neurotypical readers. As a group, participants read significantly faster with TTS support than without such support, even though the TTS reading rate was roughly comparable to the oral rather than silent reading rate of neurotypical adults. No significant differences in comprehension resulted between the two conditions. Over half of the participants preferred the TTS condition over the no-TTS condition. In general, participants were inaccurate in judging their relative reading rates and comprehension accuracy across conditions. Conclusions: TTS may improve reading efficiency without compromising reading comprehension accuracy for adults with TBI. Given this finding, some survivors may find use of TTS technology contributes to increased participation in and efficiency when performing reading activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1388-1394
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013


  • Assistive technology
  • Cognitive intervention
  • Reading intervention
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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