Semin Speech Lang 2011; 32(1): 069-080
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1271976
© Thieme Medical Publishers

A Simple Technique for Determining Velopharyngeal Status during Speech Production

Kate Bunton1 , Jeannette D. Hoit1 , Keegan Gallagher1
  • 1Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
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Publication History

Publication Date:
13 April 2011 (online)


Clinical evaluation of velopharyngeal function relies heavily on auditory perceptual judgments that can be supported by instrumental examination of the velopharyngeal valve. Many of the current instrumental techniques are difficult to interpret, expensive, and/or unavailable to clinicians. Proposed in this report is a minimally invasive and inexpensive approach to evaluating velopharyngeal function that has been used successfully in our laboratory for several potentially difficult-to-test clients. The technique is an aeromechanical approach that involves the sensing of nasal ram pressure (N-RamP), a local pressure sensed at the anterior nares, using a two-pronged nasal cannula. By monitoring the N-RamP signal, it is possible to determine the status of the velopharyngeal port (open or closed) during speech production. Four case examples are presented to support its clinical value.