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Auditory perception & biofeedback for /ɹ/ (Preston et al., 2020)

journal contribution
posted on 25.02.2020, 22:48 by Jonathan L. Preston, Elaine R. Hitchcock, Megan C. Leece
Purpose: This study evaluated whether outcomes from treatment, which includes ultrasound visual feedback (UVF), would be more or less effective when combined with auditory perception training for children with residual /ɹ/ errors.
Method: Children ages 8–16 years with /ɹ/ distortions participated in speech therapy that included real-time UVF of the tongue. Thirty-eight participants were randomized to speech therapy conditions that included a primary focus on articulation using UVF or a condition that included auditory perceptual training plus UVF (incorporating category goodness judgments and self-monitoring). Generalization of /ɹ/ production accuracy to untrained words was assessed before and after 14 hr of therapy. Additionally, the role of auditory perceptual acuity was explored using a synthetic /ɹ/–/w/ continuum.
Results: There was no difference between the treatment groups in rate of improvement of /ɹ/ accuracy (increase of 34% for each group; p = .95, ηp2 = .00). However, pretreatment auditory acuity was associated with treatment progress in both groups, with finer perceptual acuity corresponding to greater progress (p = .015, ηp2 = .182).
Conclusion: Similar gains in speech sound accuracy can be made with treatment that includes UVF with or without auditory perceptual training. Fine-grained perceptual acuity may be a prognostic indicator with treatment.

Supplemental Material S1. Individual performance data.

Supplemental Material S2. Correlation matrix for pretreatment variables and posttreatment /ɹ/ accuracy (N = 38).

Preston, J. L., Hitchcock, E. R., & Leece, M. C. (2020). Auditory perception and ultrasound biofeedback treatment outcomes for children with residual /ɹ/ distortions: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00060


This study was supported in part by Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University Gerber Auditory Science Grant (PI: J. Preston), and National Institutes of Health Grants R03DC013152 (PI: J. Preston), R15DC016426 (PI: J. Preston), and R01DC013668 (PI: D. Whalen).