The Development And Application Of Equipment For The Study Of Oral-Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Behaviour

Ellis, Richard Edmund (1978). The Development And Application Of Equipment For The Study Of Oral-Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Behaviour. MPhil thesis The Open University.



While developing new techniques for the treatment of incompetence of the soft palate, which gives rise to hypernasal speech, it became obvious that equipments were needed to help to assess the degree of nasal escape of air with speech and to attempt to make the earliest possible diagnosis of incompetence. The latter being important if vital, early schooling is not to be missed.

Two such equipments are the subject of this work. The first, the Exeter Nasal Anemometry System, is in full clinical use in the Devon Health Area and in some special units in other Health Authorities. A description is given of the use of a heated thermistor anemometer, mounted in a nose-mask, together with its associated electronics to produce permanent chart records of correlated speech and airflow patterns. These charts are used by therapists both to assess and to monitor improvement of hypernasal speech.

The second apparatus, although not yet in full clinical use, has been used to collect data on the sucking, swallowing and respiration patterns produced by neonates during feeding. It is hoped that any malfunction of the musculature involved, which-may later lead to speech defects, will show as anomalies in this data, when compared to that established for normal infants.

The development of these equipments is described, the problems involved in their use in a clinical situation and the production of suitable data are discussed. Examples of typical charts are shown and further discussion is given on the use of the data by a clinician.

The Exeter Nasal Anemometer is the subject of a British Patent application by the University of Exeter. A paper on its use has been submitted for publication. ELLIS,R.E. et al. (1978) A system for the assessment of nasal escape during speech. Brit. J. Disorders of Communication.

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