Measures of tongue function related to normal swallowing

Scott R. Youmans, Julie A.G. Stierwalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The availability of objective measures of tongue function presents a possible supplement to the clinical dysphagia evaluation. The purpose of this study was to improve our understanding of normal tongue physiology during swallowing and maximum isometric tasks, establish a preliminary database of tongue function variables, and determine if differences existed among the variables as a function of age, gender, or varied bolus consistency. Ninety subjects, divided into age and gender groups, participated in tasks that determined maximum isometric tongue pressure, mean tongue pressure during swallowing, and percentage of maximum isometric pressure used during swallowing. Descriptive statistics, correlations, and analyses of variance were computed to analyze the data. Results indicated that males had significantly higher maximum isometric pressures than females, and the youngest group had significantly higher maximum pressures than the oldest group. Mean swallowing pressures and percentage of maximum isometric pressures used during swallowing differed as a function of bolus type but did not differ as a function of age or gender. In addition, maximum isometric pressures were correlated with mean swallowing pressures, and mean swallowing pressures and percentage of maximum isometric pressures used during swallowing were correlated between consistencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Isometric pressure
  • Swallowing
  • Tongue strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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