Nasality and velopharyngeal function in five deaf adults
Lock, Robin Borman
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptual and physiological nature of hypernasality in five severely to profoundly deaf adults. Cineradiographic films and tape recordings from a previous study (Stein, 1980) were used in the present investigation. Listeners were asked to judge the degree of hypemasality on a seven- point scale for nine sentences spoken by each of the five subjects. Measurements of the degree and duration of velopharyngeal opening, if any, were made. All of the deaf speakers were perceived to have speech characterized by excessive nasality, while only two of the subjects exhibited any velopharyngeal opening. No significant relationship was found between the degree of perceived nasality and the presence of velopharyngeal opening. It was suggested that the perception of excessive nasality in these deaf speakers was related to variables other than the anatomy and physiology of the velopharyngeal mechanism. Variables discussed in relation to the perception of hypernasality and abnormal velopharyngeal opening included articulation defects, overall speech effectiveness, decreased rate of utterance, and articulatory dynamics.