The Effect of Jaw Position on Measures of Tongue Strength and Endurance Assessment of tongue strength and endurance is common in research and clinical contexts. It is unclear whether the results reveal discrete function by the tongue or combined abilities of the tongue and jaw. One way to isolate the movement of the tongue is to constrain the jaw kinematically by using ... Research Note
Research Note  |   June 01, 2004
The Effect of Jaw Position on Measures of Tongue Strength and Endurance
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nancy Pearl Solomon
    Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC
  • Benjamin Munson
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: nancy.p.solomon@us.army.mil
  • Contact author: Nancy Pearl Solomon, PhD, Army Audiology & Speech Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20307. E-mail: nancy.p.solomon@us.army.mil
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Speech / Research Note
Research Note   |   June 01, 2004
The Effect of Jaw Position on Measures of Tongue Strength and Endurance
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 584-594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/045)
History: Received March 21, 2003 , Accepted September 30, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 584-594. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/045)
History: Received March 21, 2003; Accepted September 30, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 27

Assessment of tongue strength and endurance is common in research and clinical contexts. It is unclear whether the results reveal discrete function by the tongue or combined abilities of the tongue and jaw. One way to isolate the movement of the tongue is to constrain the jaw kinematically by using a bite block. In this study, 10 neurologically normal young adults performed tongue strength and endurance tasks without a bite block ("jaw-free") and with bite blocks of various heights (2, 5, 10, and 15 mm for strength; 5 mm for endurance). Data signals included tongue pressure exerted on an air-filled bulb, surface electromyography (SEMG) from the superior tongue blade, and SEMG from 1 masseter. On average, tongue strength (pressure in kPa) was greatest with no bite block and generally decreased as bite blocks increased in height. Pairwise analyses revealed statistically significant differences for all but 3 comparisons (jaw-free to 2 mm, 2 to 5 mm, and 5 to 10 mm). After removing outlying data from 1 participant, tongue endurance at 50% of tongue strength was significantly greater without a bite block than with one. SEMG data did not differ significantly for the strength task across bite block conditions, but inspection of the individual data revealed a tendency for masseter activity to be lower when the jaw was unconstrained. These results suggest that maximal tongue strength and endurance are best assessed with an unconstrained mandible or with a very small bite block.

Acknowledgments
Data collection was funded by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, while the first author was on the faculty. Data analysis and manuscript preparation were supported in part by Grant R03-DC06096 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This research was presented in November 2003 at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Chicago.
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the U.S. Department of the Army or the U.S. Department of Defense.
We gratefully acknowledge the guidance and inspiration of Erich Luschei and the assistance of Anne Benkusky, Nancy DeBoe, Matthew Makashay, Shayla Manthei, Katherine Sullivan, and Cyndie Swenson.
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