Vowel sound production and its association with cephalometric characteristics in skeletal Class III subjects

Eur J Orthod. 2022 Jun 22;cjac031. doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjac031. Online ahead of print.


Background: This study aimed to evaluate differences in vowel production using acoustic analysis in skeletal Class III and Class I Japanese participants and to identify the correlation between vowel sounds and cephalometric variables in skeletal Class III subjects.

Materials and methods: Japanese males with skeletal Class III (ANB < 0°) and Class I skeletal anatomy (0.62° < ANB < 5.94°) were recruited (n = 18/group). Acoustic analysis of vowel sounds and cephalometric analysis of lateral cephalograms were performed. For sound analysis, an isolated Japanese vowel (/a/,/i/,/u/,/e/,/o/) pattern was recorded. Praat software was used to extract acoustic parameters such as fundamental frequency (F0) and the first four formants (F1, F2, F3, and F4). The formant graph area was calculated. Cephalometric values were obtained using ImageJ. Correlations between acoustic and cephalometric variables in skeletal Class III subjects were then investigated.

Results: Skeletal Class III subjects exhibited significantly higher/o/F2 and lower/o/F4 values. Mandibular length, SNB, and overjet of Class III subjects were moderately negatively correlated with acoustic variables.

Limitations: This study did not take into account vertical skeletal patterns and tissue movements during sound production.

Conclusion: Skeletal Class III males produced different /o/ (back and rounded vowel), possibly owing to their anatomical positions or adaptive changes. Vowel production was moderately associated with cephalometric characteristics of Class III subjects. Thus, changes in speech after orthognathic surgery may be expected. A multidisciplinary team approach that included the input of a speech pathologist would be useful.