The relationship between labial vibrotactile detection and pure-tone hearing thresholds in healthy, ageing adults

Nicole M. Etter, Emily V. Dressler, Richard D. Andreatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Orofacial anatomy is unique from other body systems in that oral musculature inserts directly into the underlying cutaneous skin, allowing for tight temporal synchronicity between somatosensory and auditory performance feedback to maintain correct orofacial behaviours across the lifespan. Unfortunately, little is currently known regarding the changes in orofacial sensory capacities associated with ageing and how these somatosensory and auditory changes may impact feedback during functional behaviours such as speech or swallowing. The purpose of this descriptive study was to begin assessing the relationship between the auditory and labial somatosensory system in healthy ageing adults. Method: Pure-tone hearing thresholds were determined for 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz. Using a 2-alternative forced choice paradigm, 60 adults (19-84 years) completed vibrotactile detection thresholds (VDT) at the 5 and 10 Hz test frequencies. Result: A significant difference for age by group was identified at the 5 Hz test frequency. Spearman Correlations identified a significant correlation between age and pure tone hearing thresholds and the 5 Hz test frequency threshold. Conclusion: A relationship between pure tone hearing thresholds and labial somatosensory was identified. Future studies will begin the processing of modelling the complex multivariate sensorimotor relationship in healthy individuals before moving to a disordered population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Dressler''s involvement in the project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number UL1TR000117. The authors report no confl icts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the offi cial views of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited.


  • Ageing
  • labial sensation
  • pure tone hearing thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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