Bite Block Vowel Production in Apraxia of Speech

Jacks, Adam
August 2008
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2008, Vol. 51 Issue 4, p898
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study explored vowel production and adaptation to articulatory constraints in adults with acquired apraxia of speech (AOS) plus aphasia. Method: Five adults with acquired AOS plus aphasia and 5 healthy control participants produced the vowels [I], [e], and [ε] in four word-length conditions in unconstrained and bite block conditions. In addition to acoustic and perceptual measures of vowel productions, individually determined idealized vowels based on each participant's best performance were used to assess vowel accuracy and distinctiveness. Results: Findings showed (a) clear separation of vowel formants in speakers with AOS; (b) impaired vowel production in speakers with AOS, shown by perceptual measures of vowel quality and acoustic measures of vowel accuracy and contrastivity; and (c) incomplete compensation to bite block compensation both for individuals with AOS and for healthy controls. Conclusions: Although adults with AOS were less accurate overall in vowel production than unimpaired speakers, introduction of a bite block resulted in similar patterns of decreased vowel accuracy for the two groups. Findings suggest that feedback control for vowel production is relatively intact in these individuals with AOS and aphasia. Predominant use of feedback control mechanisms is hypothesized to account for characteristic vowel deficits of the disorder.


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