Do Participants Report Any Undesired Effects in Ultrasound Speech Therapy?

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2018 May 3;27(2):813-818. doi: 10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0121.


Purpose: Ultrasound visual feedback of the tongue is increasingly used as a component of speech therapy in clinical research and practice. The purpose is to offer a preliminary summary of the nature of participant-reported undesired effects related to ultrasound visual feedback.

Method: Sixty-two participants across 3 sites (mean age = 11.9 years) and 38 parents responded to a 2-item verbal questionnaire following 14-16 hr of treatment regarding any aspects of the treatment they did not like. Responses were thematically categorized.

Results: The 62 participants provided 65 distinct responses, which were categorized as follows: 31% no concerns, 40% gel-related (e.g., cold, sticky), 21% positioning of the probe (e.g., uncomfortable, annoying), 3% chin hurting (qualified as being minor in nature), and 5% other (i.e., unrelated to the use of the ultrasound). Responses from all parents suggested no concerns about the use of ultrasound; however, 8% expressed concerns unrelated to ultrasound use (e.g., fatigue).

Conclusion: These data inform clinicians and researchers about participant's experience and highlight the type of comments most likely to be encountered with ultrasound in speech therapy. Although the reported adverse effects can be considered minor, they should be weighed against the potential benefits of visual feedback in treatment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Feedback, Sensory*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Preliminary Data
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Sound Disorder / diagnostic imaging*
  • Speech Sound Disorder / physiopathology
  • Speech Sound Disorder / therapy*
  • Speech Therapy / methods*
  • Tongue / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tongue / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography* / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography* / instrumentation
  • United States
  • Voice Quality*
  • Young Adult