Quantitative Endoscopic Phototransducer Investigation of Normal Velopharyngeal Physiology Purpose The purpose of this research was to learn the extent to which healthy individuals vary in their ability to achieve velopharyngeal closure for speech. Method Twenty healthy adult volunteers (10 women, 10 men) were tested using an endoscopic phototransducer system that tracks variations in velopharyngeal closure during ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2016
Quantitative Endoscopic Phototransducer Investigation of Normal Velopharyngeal Physiology
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michael P. Karnell
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Jerald B. Moon
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Kengo Nakajima
    Hiroshima University, Japan
  • Deborah S. Kacmarynski
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Michael P. Karnell: michael-karnell@uiowa.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Kate Bunton
    Associate Editor: Kate Bunton×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2016
Quantitative Endoscopic Phototransducer Investigation of Normal Velopharyngeal Physiology
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 722-731. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0268
History: Received July 31, 2015 , Revised December 3, 2015 , Accepted January 27, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2016, Vol. 59, 722-731. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0268
History: Received July 31, 2015; Revised December 3, 2015; Accepted January 27, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this research was to learn the extent to which healthy individuals vary in their ability to achieve velopharyngeal closure for speech.

Method Twenty healthy adult volunteers (10 women, 10 men) were tested using an endoscopic phototransducer system that tracks variations in velopharyngeal closure during speech production. Each speaker produced multiple repetitions of three utterances that differed in phonetic content. The data were amplitude normalized and averaged for each speaker.

Results Average phototransducer measurements were similar across subjects for utterances containing only oral phonemes. Average percentage of velopharyngeal closure varied considerably among subjects when producing utterances containing both oral and nasal phonemes (54%–95%). Average percentage of velopharyngeal closure levels were significantly lower (p < .05) for utterances that included nasal consonants.

Conclusions Phototransducer measurements of velopharyngeal closure for speech are sensitive to nasal phoneme content. The findings suggest that motor programming that accomplishes rapid oral–nasal velopharyngeal valving for speech may differ among healthy subjects. However, such variations in motor programming may not perceptually affect typical speakers. If present in individuals with abnormal velopharyngeal mechanisms, these variations may help explain variations among speakers in speech outcomes after physical and behavioral management.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded in part from the University of Iowa Foundation Hughlett L. Morris Research Fund. The authors thank Kelsey Kruse, Elleen Riordan, Zoe Linn, and Lucy Karnell for their contributions to this research.
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