Tongue measures in individuals with normal and impaired swallowing

Julie A.G. Stierwalt, Scott R. Youmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Purpose: This investigation sought to add to the extant literature on measures of normal tongue function, to provide information on measures of tongue function in a group of individuals with oral phase dysphagia, and to provide a comparison of these 2 groups matched for age and gender. Method: The Iowa Oral Performance Instrument was utilized to measure tongue function (strength and endurance) in a group of individuals with normal (N = 200) and impaired (N = 50) swallowing. The peak measure of 3 encouraged trials was recorded as participants' strength, and 50% of their peak was sustained as long as possible for endurance. Results: Results for the control group supported previous investigations wherein greater tongue strength was found in males than in females andin the youngest versus oldest groups. The experimental group demonstrated a similar trend in strength for gender. When matched for age and gender, the experimental group demonstrated significantly lower strength. Significant differences were not revealed on measures of tongue endurance. Conclusion: We were able to extend the normative database on tongue function and document reduced tongue strength in a group of individuals with dysphagia. The findings provide evidence that in this group, tongue weakness coincided with signs of dysphagia, adding justification for tongue-strengthening protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Dysphagia
  • Tongue function
  • Tongue strength and endurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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