Oral Incompetence: changes in speech intelligibility following facial nerve paralysis

  • E Charters
    School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Sydney, Australia
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  • H Low
    Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Sydney, Australia

    School of Health Sciences, Discipline of Physiotherapy, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

    Central Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • S Coulson
    Corresponding author: Emma Charters. Level 7, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, 119 Missenden Road, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 2050
    Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney. Australia
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      To develop and validate a patient-reported outcome measure that evaluates oral competence; speech and swallowing function after facial nerve paralysis (FNP).


      Content validity was informed by extensive literature review, consultation with clinical experts and patient interview. This resulted in a 16-item Oral Competence Questionnaire (OCQ) which was completed by forty patients with facial nerve paralysis (FNP) and forty healthy controls. The sensitivity of the questionnaire was tested against other validated questionnaires for oral function, speech/ swallowing functions and facial nerve related disability. Normative data was obtained by administering the OCQ to a group of healthy volunteers.


      A total of 80 participants completed the OCQ (40 FNP, 40 healthy controls). Strong linear relationships (Pearson correlation coefficients >0.8) were observed between speech intelligibility ratings, objective speech outcomes and the OCQ. Linear correlations were also noted between OCQ and FDI (Pearson correlation coefficient >0.4). The mean OCQ score for participants with FNP was 28.8 and 0.0 for healthy controls.


      This succinct, 16-item questionnaire demonstrated good sensitivity for testing oral-competence and oral function for patients with FNP, and ability discriminate between patients with FNP from patients with normal facial nerve function.


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