|Researchers at Purdue University have developed an improved flexible, wearable sensor for detecting muscle activity in the orofacial area. Swallowing, speech, and orofacial disorders affect more than 15% of the U.S. population, and COVID-19 likely caused this number to increase, as COVID-19 survivors may also experience swallowing, breathing, and voice disorders. Biofeedback devices are currently used to treat these disorders. However, most of these devices are large and/or expensive and only available at large medical centers, causing many patients to complete their therapy at home without any feedback. The improved Purdue technology allows patients to practice their therapy exercises at home and complete their therapy via telehealth. This new device is double-sided; the main sensors are on the side that contacts the skin, and the traces that transfer the signal are on the other side. This provides high signal quality and maximum durability. The sensor can be applied in three different areas in the head/neck region, depending on the desired location of capturing muscle activity signals. The first iteration is optimized for the muscles under the chin which are critical in swallowing function.
Technology Validation: Durability was first documented in a pilot study of the device with two individuals, where the signal quality remained strong after 16 and 19 uses for the first and second individual, respectively. The signal to noise ratio ranged from 18-24 for all sessions, showcasing excellent signal quality as well. In a more recent study (manuscript under preparation), where the device was compared against commercially available sensors on 60 healthy adults (30 young and 30 older), the device performance was equivalent in several signal parameters to the commercial sensors and significantly outperformed an older version of the same sensor in regard to signal quality and durability.
- treating swallowing and voice/speech disorders
Apr 28, 2023
May 4, 2022
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