OBJECTIVE: We studied the association between speech development in the first year of life and alexithymia in young adulthood. METHODS: The study forms a part of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort. The original material consisted of all liveborn children in the provinces of Lapland and Oulu in Finland with an expected delivery date during 1966. The comprehensive data collection began during the antenatal phase. In 1997, a 31-year follow-up study was made on a part of the initial sample. The 20-item version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) was given to 5983 subjects. Of them, 84% returned the questionnaire properly filled in. The ability to talk was classified according to whether the child spoke no words, one or two words, or three or more words at the age of 1 year. Statistical analyses on the association between the ability to speak at the age of 1 year and alexithymia at the age of 31 years were performed, adjusted for birth weight, mother's parity, place of residence and wantedness of pregnancy. RESULTS: The mean of the total TAS score was lowest among early speakers and for both genders separately. The differences were statistically significant. A parallel significant difference was found among males on TAS Factors 2 and 3 and in case of females on TAS Factors 1 and 3. CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence for an association between speaking development in early childhood and later alexithymia. Our results support the theory that alexithymia may be a developmental process starting in early childhood and reinforcing itself in a social context.
We present a 9.1-year-old girl of Calabrian (Italy) ancestry, with clinical features (cranio-facial dysmorphism, short stature with delayed bone age and speech delay) suggesting the diagnosis of Floating-Harbor syndrome (FHS). Physical examination showed: height 113.9 cm (-2.9 SD), with a parent's target of 156.2 cm (+1.0 SD), weight 20.7 kg, BMI 16.0 (-0.04 SD), and many phenotypic abnormalities: long eyelashes, large bulbous nose with broad nasal bridge, short philtrum, moderately broad mouth, tooth folding and malocclusion, posteriorly rotated ears, low posterior hair line, short neck, clinodactyly of the 5th finger and hyperextensible finger joints. Diffused hyperpigmentation and hypertrichosis with sporadic pubic terminal hairs, but neither clitoromegaly nor other signs of hyperandrogenism and/or precocious puberty, were observed (T1, P1). Carpal bone evaluation showed a delayed bone age (TW2: 5-5/10, - 3.6 yr) and the statural age/bone age ratio was 1.1. Other dysmorphic syndromes were excluded on the basis of clinical evidence, also evaluated by a computer-assisted search (P.O.S.S.U.M. version 3.5, 1992). Analysis of chromosome 22 by the FISH method, using specific probes Cos29 and Tuple1, excluded microdeletions in the region 22q11.2, typical of Velo-cardio-facial syndrome. In this case, we report the impairment of serum GH responsiveness (GH baseline values: 0.2-1.9 ng/ml) to the administration of oral 150 microg clonidine [peak 4.7 ng/ml, normal values (nv)>10 ng/ml] and oral 4 mg dexamethasone (8.1 ng/ml, nv>10 ng/ml). Moreover, the evaluation of spontaneous 24-h GH secretion (Carmeda AB, Stockholm, Sweden) showed low mean GH levels (1.75 ng/ml, nv>3.0 ng/ml), with a maximum sleep-related peak of 2.8 ng/ml. Serum IGF-1 values were in the low-normal range (80-176 ng/ml, nv 133-626 ng/ml). While in FHS the cranio-facial features minimize with advancement of age, the impairment of growth velocity is permanent and results in severe dwarfism. In our case, treatment with recombinant GH (0.10 U/kg/day), administered by a needle-free device, induced a dramatic increase of growth velocity, increasing the height from -2.8 to -1.9 SD after 18 months, thus indirectly confirming a role of GH deficiency in the pathogenesis of FHS dwarfism.
The acceptable noise level (ANL) test is used for quantification of the amount of background noise subjects accept when listening to speech. This study investigates Danish hearing-aid users' ANL performance using Danish and non-semantic speech signals, the repeatability of ANL, and the association between ANL and outcome of the international outcome inventory for hearing aids (IOI-HA).
ANL was measured in three conditions in both ears at two test sessions. Subjects completed the IOI-HA and the ANL questionnaire.
Sixty-three Danish hearing-aid users; fifty-seven subjects were full time users and 6 were part time/non users of hearing aids according to the ANL questionnaire.
ANLs were similar to results with American English speech material. The coefficient of repeatability (CR) was 6.5-8.8 dB. IOI-HA scores were not associated to ANL.
Danish and non-semantic ANL versions yield results similar to the American English version. The magnitude of the CR indicates that ANL with Danish and non-semantic speech materials is not suitable for prediction of individual patterns of future hearing-aid use or evaluation of individual benefit from hearing-aid features. The ANL with Danish and non-semantic speech materials is not related to IOI-HA outcome.
The acceptable noise level (ANL) is used to quantify the amount of background noise that subjects can accept while listening to speech, and is suggested for prediction of individual hearing-aid use. The aim of this study was to assess the repeatability of the ANL measured in normal-hearing subjects using running Danish and non-semantic speech materials as stimuli and modulated speech-spectrum and multi-talker babble noises as competing stimuli.
ANL was measured in both ears at two test sessions separated by a period ranging from 12 to 77 days. At each session the measurements at the first and the second ear were separated in time by 15-30 minutes. Bland-Altman plots and calculation of the coefficient of repeatability (CR) were used to estimate the repeatability.
Thirty nine normal-hearing subjects.
The ANL CR was 6.0-8.9 dB for repeated tests separated by about 15-30 minutes and 7.2-10.2 dB for repeated tests separated by 12 days or more.
The ANL test has poor repeatability when assessed with Danish and non-semantic speech materials on normal-hearing subjects. The same CR among hearing-impaired subjects would imply too poor repeatability to predict individual patterns of future hearing-aid use.
Acceptable noise level (ANL) has been established as a method to quantify the acceptance of background noise while listening to speech presented at the most comfortable level. The aim of the present study was to generate Danish, Swedish, and a non-semantic version of the ANL test and investigate normal-hearing Danish and Swedish subjects' performance on these tests.
ANL was measured using Danish and Swedish running speech with two different noises: Speech-weighted amplitude-modulated noise, and multitalker speech babble. ANL was also measured using the non-semantic international speech test signal (ISTS) as speech signal together with the speech-weighted amplitude-modulated noise. The latter condition was identical in both populations.
Forty Danish and 40 Swedish normal-hearing subjects.
In both populations ANL results were similar to previously reported results from American studies. Generally, significant differences were seen between test conditions using different types of noise within ears in each population. Significant differences were seen for ANL across populations, also when the non-semantic ISTS was used as speech signal.
The present findings indicate that there are extrinsic factors, such as instructions, affecting the ANL results.
The acceptable noise level (ANL) test is a method for quantifying the amount of background noise that subjects accept when listening to speech. Large variations in ANL have been seen between normal-hearing subjects and between studies of normal-hearing subjects, but few explanatory variables have been identified.
To explore a possible relationship between a Swedish version of the ANL test, working memory capacity (WMC), and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs).
ANL, WMC, and AEP were tested in a counterbalanced order across subjects.
Twenty-one normal-hearing subjects participated in the study (14 females and 7 males; aged 20-39 yr with an average of 25.7 yr).
Reported data consists of age, pure-tone average (PTA), most comfortable level (MCL), background noise level (BNL), ANL (i.e., MCL - BNL), AEP latencies, AEP amplitudes, and WMC. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was calculated between the collected variables to investigate associations. A principal component analysis (PCA) with Varimax rotation was conducted on the collected variables to explore underlying factors and estimate interactions between the tested variables. Subjects were also pooled into two groups depending on their results on the WMC test, one group with a score lower than the average and one with a score higher than the average. Comparisons between these two groups were made using the Mann-Whitney U-test with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.
A negative association was found between ANL and WMC but not between AEP and ANL or WMC. Furthermore, ANL is derived from MCL and BNL, and a significant positive association was found between BNL and WMC. However, no significant associations were seen between AEP latencies and amplitudes and the demographic variables, MCL, and BNL. The PCA identified two underlying factors: One that contained MCL, BNL, ANL, and WMC and another that contained latency for wave Na and amplitudes for waves V and Na-Pa. Using the variables in the first factor, the findings were further explored by pooling the subjects into two groups according to their WMC (WMClow and WMChigh). It was found that the WMClow had significantly poorer BNL than the WMChigh.
The findings suggest that there is a strong relationship between BNL and WMC, while the association between MCL, ANL, and WMC seems less clear-cut.
This ethnographic study describes the results of a collaborative journaling process that occurred between a student and his instructor of a second-year social work communications course. Many questions from the student's and the instructor's perspectives are raised regarding accommodating the student with a severe speech impairment in a course that specifically focuses on communication skills. Preliminary recommendations are made for social work students and professionals with communication limitations, and for social work educators.
OBJECTIVE: To compare voice and speech function in patients who underwent laryngectomy with that of 2 control groups. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study comparing acoustic and temporal variables with perceptual evaluations in 3 subject groups. SETTING: University hospital in Göteborg, Sweden. SUBJECTS: Two groups of patients with laryngeal carcinoma were examined: 12 male patients who had laryngectomy and were using a tracheoesophageal prosthesis and 12 male patients treated with radical radiotherapy who had a preserved larynx. The third group consisted of 10 normal controls without laryngeal disease. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Acoustic variables were fundamental frequency, absolute fundamental frequency perturbation, speech rate, and maximum phonation time. Perceptual evaluation included 15 listeners' perceptual evaluation and the patients' self-assessment of speech intelligibility, voice quality, and speech acceptability. RESULTS: No significant acoustic or temporal differences were found between the laryngectomy and radical radiotherapy groups. There was a significant difference between the patient groups in perceptual evaluation. Both groups of patients differed from normal controls in acoustic and temporal measures, where the laryngectomy group generally deviated more from the normal controls than the patient group treated with radiotherapy. There was a weak, but significant, correlation between absolute fundamental frequency perturbation and perceived voice quality. CONCLUSIONS: Perceptual evaluations could indicate significant differences between the patients who underwent laryngectomy and irradiated patients, where the acoustic analysis failed to reflect these differences. Both patient groups could be distinguished according to acoustic and temporal measures when compared with normal controls. The acoustic analyses were more sufficient in voices without severe dysfunction.
This study investigated the relation of symptoms of vocal fatigue to acoustic variables reflecting type of voice production and the effects of vocal loading. Seventy-nine female primary school teachers volunteered as subjects. Before and after a working day, (1) a 1-minute text reading sample was recorded at habitual loudness and loudly (as in large classroom), (2) a prolonged phonation on [a:] was recorded at habitual speaking pitch and loudness, and (3) a questionnaire about voice quality, ease, or difficulty of phonation and tiredness of throat was completed. The samples were analyzed for average fundamental frequency (F0), sound pressure level (SPL), and phonation type reflecting alpha ratio (SPL [1-5 kHz]-SPL [50 Hz-1 kHz]). The vowel samples were additionally analyzed for perturbation (jitter and shimmer). After a working day, F0, SPL, and alpha ratio were higher, jitter and shimmer values were lower, and more tiredness of throat was reported. The average levels of the acoustic parameters did not correlate with the symptoms. Increase in jitter and mean F0 in loud reading correlated with tiredness of throat. The results seem to suggest that, at least among experienced vocal professionals, voice production type had little relevance from the point of view of vocal fatigue reported. Differences in the acoustic parameters after a vocally loading working day mainly seem to reflect increased muscle activity as a consequence of vocal loading.