Acoustic Analysis of Phonation in Children With Smith–Magenis Syndrome

2021-06-3 | journal-article


Pedro Gómez Vilda, Daniel Palacios Alonso, Rafael Martínez Olalla, Irene Hidalgo

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


Complex simultaneous neuropsychophysiological mechanisms are responsible for the processing of the information to be transmitted and for the neuromotor planning of the articulatory organs involved in speech. The nature of this set of mechanisms is closely linked to the clinical state of the subject. Thus, for example, in populations with neurodevelopmental deficits, these underlying neuropsychophysiological procedures are deficient and determine their phonation. Most of these cases with neurodevelopmental deficits are due to a genetic abnormality, as is the case in the population with Smith–Magenis syndrome (SMS). SMS is associated with neurodevelopmental deficits, intellectual disability, and a cohort of characteristic phenotypic features, including voice quality, which does not seem to be in line with the gender, age, and complexion of the diagnosed subject. The phonatory profile and speech features in this syndrome are dysphonia, high f0, excess vocal muscle stiffness, fluency alterations, numerous syllabic simplifications, phoneme omissions, and unintelligibility of speech. This exploratory study investigates whether the neuromotor deficits in children with SMS adversely affect phonation as compared to typically developing children without neuromotor deficits, which has not been previously determined. The authors compare the phonatory performance of a group of children with SMS (N = 12) with a healthy control group of children (N = 12) matched in age, gender, and grouped into two age ranges. The first group ranges from 5 to 7 years old, and the second group goes from 8 to 12 years old. Group differences were determined for two forms of acoustic analysis performed on repeated recordings of the sustained vowel /a/ F1 and F2 extraction and cepstral peak prominence (CPP). It is expected that the results will enlighten the question of the underlying neuromotor aspects of phonation in SMS population. These findings could provide evidence of the susceptibility of phonation of speech to neuromotor disturbances, regardless of their origin.