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ERIC Number: EJ1173896
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Development of Velopharyngeal Closure for Vocalization during the First 2 Years of Life
Bunton, Kate; Hoit, Jeannette D.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v61 n3 p549-560 Mar 2018
Purpose: The vocalizations of young infants often sound nasalized, suggesting that the velopharynx is open during the 1st few months of life. Whereas acoustic and perceptual studies seemed to support the idea that the velopharynx closes for vocalization by about 4 months of age, an aeromechanical study contradicted this (Thom, Hoit, Hixon, & Smith, 2006). Thus, the current large-scale investigation was undertaken to determine when the velopharynx closes for speech production by following infants during their first 2 years of life. Method: This longitudinal study used nasal ram pressure to determine the status of the velopharynx (open or closed) during spontaneous speech production in 92 participants (46 male, 46 female) studied monthly from age 4 to 24 months. Results: The velopharynx was closed during at least 90% of the utterances by 19 months, though there was substantial variability across participants. When considered by sound category, the velopharynx was closed from most to least often during production of oral obstruents, approximants, vowels (only), and glottal obstruents. No sex effects were observed. Conclusion: Velopharyngeal closure for spontaneous speech production can be considered complete by 19 months, but closure occurs earlier for speech sounds with higher oral pressure demands.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 2200 Research Blvd #250, Rockville, MD 20850. Tel: 301-296-5700; Fax: 301-296-8580; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01DC010140