Reliability of Clinically Available Tools For Orofacial Somatosensory Testing

Open Access
Miller, Olivia Marie
Area of Honors:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Nicole Michele Etter, Thesis Supervisor
  • Ingrid Maria Blood, Honors Advisor
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Somatosensory Testing
  • Two-Point Discrimination
  • Von Frey Hairs
The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of two clinically available tools for the use of orofacial somatosensory testing. With speech dysarthrias, speech language pathologists have customarily focused on the motor aspects of speech disorders with little clinical consideration of the importance of sensation. Somatosensory inputs have been shown to be necessary for achieving accurate speech production and perception. However, the devices available for orofacial somatosensory testing are those only accessible in laboratory settings and those that have not yet proven to be reliable. The two clinical measures in this study, tested in the lingual and labial regions, are two-point discrimination and Von Frey hair monofilaments. Four participants, selected from a healthy control population, completed three assessments: two-point discrimination, tactile detection and discrimination thresholds. Each participant returned for reliability testing between 11-17 days of initial testing. A descriptive analysis of the results was completed. For these participants, we found these two clinical devices to be reliable. These data will contribute to the larger sample pool for more formal statistical analyses.