ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5pSP27. Tongue prostheses for articulation.

Osamu Fujimura

Bernice Gerdeman

Dominic DiGiacomo

Edwin Merrell

Dept. of Speech and Hear. Sci., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43210-1002

A 48-year-old male with normal speech underwent 6 years ago a total glossectomy with myocutaneous flap reconstruction. The voice control is natural in this patient. Prosthodontic devices have been made to test feasibility of improving speech intelligibility. All American English vowels (except retroflexed vowels) are articulated with virtually perfect identifiability with the use of a solid tongue prosthesis fixed on the lower teeth. Spring-loaded rotatable prostheses were deviced for consonantal articulations. The prosthesis is moved under the contraction of the muscle in the reconstructed flap in the posterior oral cavity, raising the ``back of the tongue'' or the ``tip of the tongue'' in combination with mandibular and labial control. X-ray microbeam recordings were obtained to observe the extent of controlled movements. The result is almost perfect intelligibility of most of speech sounds including apical and dorsal obstruents. The patient, as one of the coauthors of this paper, will demonstrate the use of the prosthesis as part of the presentation. [This work has been supported in part by Shannon Award (NIDCD #1 R55 DC00015-01A1) and by a research fund from ATR, International, both given to O. Fujimura.]