Purpose: Hyoid bone and laryngeal approximation aid airway protection (laryngeal vestibule closure) while moving toward their peak superior and anterior positions during swallowing. Submental surface electrical stimulation (SES) is a therapeutic technique that targets the muscles that move the hyoid bone during swallowing. It is unknown whether submental SES only increases peak hyoid bone swallowing positions but not peak laryngeal swallowing positions, which could require faster or greater laryngeal movement to achieve adequate laryngeal vestibule closure. Method: We examined the effects of submental SES on hyo-laryngeal kinematics in 30 healthy adults who swallowed 50 times using an error-based learning paradigm. Results: Submental SES did not alter any hyo-laryngeal swallowing kinematic. However, submental SES significantly changed the starting position of the hyoid bone just prior to the swallow onset (more anterior; p = .003). On average, submental SES immediately prior to swallow onset can position the hyoid approximately 20% closer to its peak swallowing point. Conclusions: These findings indicate that electrical stimulation of the agonists for hyoid movement might not alter swallowing outcomes tested in this study. However, submental SES could have clinical utility by minimizing swallowing impairments related to reduced hyoid swallowing range of motion in individuals with dysphagia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing