Acoustic Study of Pharyngeal Swallowing as a Function of the Volume and Consistency of the Bolus

Karim Hammoudi, Michèle Boiron, Nadia Hernandez, Clément Bobillier, Sylvain Morinière


August 2014Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 468-474


Cervical auscultation is a noninvasive technique for the exploration of swallowing and has been used since the 1960s. The aim of our study was to describe how the volume and consistency of the bolus affect swallowing acoustic sound characteristics in healthy subjects. Twenty-three subjects aged from 20 to 59 years were included (13 women and 10 men). A microphone mounted on a stethoscope chest piece, positioned on the skin on the right side in front of the posteroinferior border of the cricoid cartilage, was used; it was connected to a computer for acoustic recordings. Each subject swallowed 2-, 5-, and 10-ml aliquots of water, yogurt, and mashed potato. Each bolus was administered once, with a period of at least 30 s between each swallow. For each recorded sound, the total duration of the sound and the duration of each sound component (SC) (SC1, SC2, and SC3) and interval (IT1 and IT2) between the SCs were measured. For all records, the average duration of acoustic measures was calculated. Differences according to the volume and the consistency of the swallowed bolus were assessed using Student’s t test for paired data. We calculated the percentage of recordings that included each SC. We also compared results between men and women using Student’s t test. We successfully interpreted 540 of the 621 (87 %) records. The results indicated that the average total duration of the sound, and especially the average duration of SC2, increased with increasing volume and was greater for mashed potato than for the boluses of other consistencies. SC2 was present in all of the records.


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