Utilizing Nasal Acceleration for the Assessment of Audible Nasal Emissions

Yu-An Lien¹, Maia Braden², Cara Stepp³
¹Boston University BME, ²Department of Otolaryngology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ³Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Boston University

Introduction: Cleft palate, a common birth defect in the United States, occurs in approximately 2,650 babies per year. Even after primary surgical reconstruction, children can present varying degrees of hypernasality and nasal emissions. In nasal emissions, air leaks through a gap in the velopharyngeal port during attempts to build up intraoral air pressure for the production of consonants. Evaluation of speech in these children often relies on reliable subjective auditory judgments. Nasal accelerometry, a non-invasive technique for measuring vibrations on the surface of the nose, is effective for estimating hypernasality, but hasn't been previously applied to nasal emissions.

Objectives: Evaluate using nasal acceleration in distinguishing typical children and children with cleft palate.

Methods: Nasal acceleration was obtained from nine typical children (4-14 years) and twelve children with cleft palate (4-16 years) while they produced strings of /pa/ and /ta/. The nasal acceleration immediately preceding the burst onset of each voiceless consonant was analyzed to obtain the power in the frequency band of 170-10,000 Hz.

Results: The nasal acceleration power tends to be higher in children with clef palate (M = 1.53 dB, SD = 1.94), relative to typical children (M = 0.27 dB, SD = 0.47)

Conclusions: These initial results suggest promise for the use of nasal acceleration in the assessment of nasal emissions.

Keywords: Resonance, Objective Assessments


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