Tongue Piercing and Speech

Van Borsel, John; Cornelis, Celine
February 2009
Journal of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery;Feb2009, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p11
Academic Journal
Objective: The purpose of the present study was to document the possible impact of tongue piercing on speech. Study Design: A questionnaire study and a listener experiment were conducted. Methods: Eight participants with a barbell-type piercing placed dorsoventral in the midline of the tongue completed a questionnaire inquiring about possible pre-existing speech-language problems and about the participants' history and experience with the piercing. Three graduate speech-language pathologists evaluated the articulation of the participants. They scored speech samples of the participants reading a text on a 9-point interval scale with "seriously disturbed articulation" (score 1) and "normal articulation" (score 9) as left and right extremes, respectively, once with the piercing in place and once with the piercing removed. Results: All participants reported having experienced articulation problems immediately after placement of the tongue piercing. These problems lasted from a few days to 1½ months and affected most frequently alveolar and postalveolar consonants. In the listener experiment, articulation was generally judged to be quite normal. Scores assigned to reading with the piercing in place compared with reading with the piercing removed were not significantly different. Conclusion: Individuals considering obtaining a tongue piercing should expect some impact on speech, which is not permanent, however.


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