Somatosensory Information in Speech Production

D Ostry, S Tremblay


The role of somatosensory feedback in speech production is one of the puzzles of speech motor control. Speech production appears to be dominated by auditory feedback. Indeed, the idea that speech goals are defined acoustically and maintained on the basis of auditory feedback is one of the central ideas in speech production research. Nevertheless, the capacity for intelligible speech by deaf speakers suggests that somatosensory inputs may play a significant role. Previous studies that might have experimentally documented a somatosensory component to speech production have been equivocal. Mechanical perturbations that have altered somatosensory feedback in speech have simultaneously altered the acoustic output, and hence any adaptation observed under these conditions may have been a consequence of the acoustic change.