A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study on Cortical Hemodynamic Responses to Normal and Whispered Speech in 3- to 7-Year-Old Children Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess cortical hemodynamic response patterns in 3- to 7-year-old children listening to two speech modes: normally vocalized and whispered speech. Understanding whispered speech requires processing of the relatively weak, noisy signal, as well as the cognitive ability to understand the speaker's reason ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2017
A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study on Cortical Hemodynamic Responses to Normal and Whispered Speech in 3- to 7-Year-Old Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gerard B. Remijn
    Human Science Department, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
  • Mitsuru Kikuchi
    Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Yuko Yoshimura
    Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Kiyomi Shitamichi
    Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Sanae Ueno
    Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Tsunehisa Tsubokawa
    Department of Anesthesiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Haruyuki Kojima
    Department of Psychology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Haruhiro Higashida
    Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • Yoshio Minabe
    Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
  • 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 Gerard Remijn: remijn@design.kyushu-u.ac.jp
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Suzanne Purdy
    Associate Editor: Suzanne Purdy×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Professional Issues & Training / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2017
A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study on Cortical Hemodynamic Responses to Normal and Whispered Speech in 3- to 7-Year-Old Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2017, Vol. 60, 465-470. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0435
History: Received December 18, 2015 , Revised April 15, 2016 , Accepted July 24, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2017, Vol. 60, 465-470. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0435
History: Received December 18, 2015; Revised April 15, 2016; Accepted July 24, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess cortical hemodynamic response patterns in 3- to 7-year-old children listening to two speech modes: normally vocalized and whispered speech. Understanding whispered speech requires processing of the relatively weak, noisy signal, as well as the cognitive ability to understand the speaker's reason for whispering.

Method Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to assess changes in cortical oxygenated hemoglobin from 16 typically developing children.

Results A profound difference in oxygenated hemoglobin levels between the speech modes was found over left ventral sensorimotor cortex. In particular, over areas that represent speech articulatory body parts and motion, such as the larynx, lips, and jaw, oxygenated hemoglobin was higher for whisper than for normal speech. The weaker stimulus, in terms of sound energy, thus induced the more profound hemodynamic response. This, moreover, occurred over areas involved in speech articulation, even though the children did not overtly articulate speech during measurements.

Conclusion Because whisper is a special form of communication not often used in daily life, we suggest that the hemodynamic response difference over left ventral sensorimotor cortex resulted from inner (covert) practice or imagination of the different articulatory actions necessary to produce whisper as opposed to normal speech.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Grant 22591276 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (awarded to Gerard B. Remijn and Mitsuru Kikuchi) and the Hokuriku Innovation Cluster for Health Science (Program for Fostering Regional Innovation from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology).
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