Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Clinical Research|Articles in Press

Influence of speech aid prosthesis with speech therapy on speech outcomes in adult patients with persisting velopharyngeal insufficiency: A retrospective analysis


      Statement of problem

      Prosthetic intervention with a speech aid prosthesis (SAP) along with speech therapy has been reported to improve speech outcomes in patients with persisting velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). However, little is known regarding the impact of this treatment on different speech parameters over time in adult patients with VPI.


      The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the change in speech parameters after rehabilitation with an SAP and speech therapy in adult patients with VPI using subjective and objective tests.

      Material and methods

      Patients above 16 years of age who had received prosthetic treatment for VPI and had complete speech assessment records between 2017 and 2020 were included in the analysis. After completion of the prosthetic treatment, speech therapy comprising 2 sessions per week of 45 minutes was provided by a speech pathologist. Speech evaluation was performed using tests that included speech intelligibility calculation, nasal pinch test, audible nasal air emissions, acoustic analysis, and the nasalance check. Assessments were done at 4 time intervals: T0: without an SAP; T1: 1 week with an SAP; T2: 1 month with an SAP; and T3: 3 months with an SAP. A descriptive analysis was followed by a comparison between groups using the Friedman test for subjective assessments and repeated measures ANOVA for objective tests (α=.05).


      Of 10 individuals who had received an SAP, 5 participants, 2 men and 3 women with a mean age of 38 years were included in the analysis. Statistically significant improvement in mean scores was observed from T0 to T3 concerning speech intelligibility (P<.001), hypernasality (P<.001), audible nasal air emission (P<.001), mean fundamental frequency (P=.034), shimmer percentage (P=.004), and nasalance (P=.004). Improvement in jitter percentage was not statistically significant (P=.218).


      An SAP along with speech therapy should be considered as a conservative and effective treatment option for addressing speech issues in adult patients with VPI.
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