Adding a Therapeutic Touch
Understanding how the skin around the mouth affects speech perception could lead to new methods to treat speech disorders. Traditionally the focus in speech therapy has been on the auditory component, says David Ostry of McGill University, but the mechanical and tactile aspects are crucial, too. “The somatosensory inputs play a role in both guiding speech production and speech learning, and now it’s clear they play a role in auditory perception, too,” Ostry explains, referring to his recent experiments. “It really identifies them as a potential conduit for therapeutic interventions.” Speech therapies with tactile components could especially help patients who, because of hearing loss or other reasons, have trouble hearing their speech mistakes, he says.
Note: This article was originally published with the title, "A Real Stretch."