New York: Watching 3D images of tongue movements can help individuals learn speech sounds, a new study by University of Texas researchers indicated.
The findings could be especially helpful for stroke patients seeking to improve their speech articulation, according to study co-author professor William Katz.
"These results show that individuals can be taught consonant sounds in part by watching 3D tongue images. But we also are seeking to use visual feedback to get at the underlying nature of apraxia and other related disorders," Katz said.
The study showed that participants became more accurate in learning new sounds when they were exposed to visual feedback training.
"People with apraxia of speech can have trouble with this process. They typically know what they want to say but have difficulty getting their speech plans to the muscle system, causing sounds to come out wrong," Katz explained.
"My original inspiration was to show patients their tongues, which would clearly show where sounds should and should not be articulated," he said.
Part of the new study looked at an effect called compensatory articulation - when acoustics are rapidly shifted and subjects think they are making a certain sound with their mouths, but hear feedback that indicates they are making a different sound.
Katz said the research results highlight the importance of body visualization as part of rehabilitation therapy.
The study appeared in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.