department of communicative sciences & disorders
Biofeedback intervention for speech sound disorder
Speech sound disorder in childhood poses a barrier to academic and social participation, with potentially lifelong consequences for educational and occupational outcomes. Particular challenges are faced by children with residual speech errors, or atypical speech patterns that persist past 9 years of age. These errors, which frequently involve sounds like /r/ and /s/, often remain unchanged despite years of therapy.
Recent research suggests that these errors can be eliminated through therapy incorporating visual biofeedback. Biofeedback uses instrumentation to create a real-time representation of some aspect of speech that is difficult to perceive under ordinary circumstances. Different technologies may be used:
• In acoustic biofeedback therapy, learners view a real-time image of the acoustic signal of their speech,
which they can attempt to match to a model representing correct production of the target sound.
• In ultrasound biofeedback therapy, a learner can observe the shape and movements of his/her
tongue in real time and attempt to match an ultrasound image of a correctly articulated target sound.
Biofeedback research projects in the Byun Lab
With the cost of biofeedback technologies decreasing rapidly, the clinical impact of biofeedback treatment research will continue to grow. However, there is a need for expanded research efforts to create evidence-based guidelines for the use of biofeedback in intervention for speech sound disorder. Ongoing projects in this lab include the following:
• Comparing the efficacy of traditional articulatory intervention and acoustic biofeedback intervention (supported by
• Systematically documenting the efficacy of acoustic and ultrasound biofeedback (with Elaine Hitchcock, Montclair
• Understanding how acoustic biofeedback influences speech-motor learning (with Edwin Maas, University of Arizona)
Lab publications and presentations
McAllister Byun, T., & Hitchcock, E. (2012). Investigating the use of traditional and spectral biofeedback approaches to intervention for /r/ misarticulation. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 21, 207-221.
McAllister Byun, T., & Swartz, M. (2012). Using ultrasound biofeedback to establish correct /r/ in children. Poster presented at the annual conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Atlanta, GA.
McAllister Byun, T., & Hitchcock, E. (2011). Treating /r/ misarticulation: Benefits of computer-based intervention. Talk presented at the annual conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, San Diego, CA.
If you are a parent/caregiver or clinician/educator who would like to recommend a participant aged 9-14 for enrollment in our research investigating biofeedback treatment for /r/ errors, click here or read more here.
If you are a clinician or student who would like to get involved in our research process, click here.