KayPENTAX is pleased to announce the introduction of two new products: the Phonatory Aerodynamic System (PAS) and the Ambulatory Phonation Monitor (APM). The first, the PAS, is used for measuring airflow and pressure parameters related to speech and voice production; the second, the APM, is a portable lightweight device that can be worn throughout an entire day of normal activity to extract important parameters of vocal behavior. “Each” says Robert McClurkin, director of product management and marketing at KayPENTAX, “should prove a welcome addition to the broad range of KayPENTAX instrumentation currently used in leading speech and voice clinics throughout the world.”
Based on years of experience with aerodynamic instrumentation, PAS is a robust, PC-compatible, hardware/software system developed at KayPENTAX with input from preeminent clinicians and voice scientists. Its ergonomic design provides for ease of use in speech/ENT clinics and voice labs alike; additionally, PAS integrates well with other KayPENTAX acoustic analysis products that share a common data format and user interface. Among the measurements obtained from PAS are average phonatory flow rate, fundamental frequency, sound pressure level, subglottal pressure (derived), vital capacity, glottal resistance, and efficiency parameters.
User-alterable, built-in PAS protocols readily control the capture, display, and processing parameters required to obtain the results of interest to the speech scientist or clinician. “The protocol-driven nature of the system simplifies data collection for the user by automatically issuing specific instructions on equipment use, vocal assessment tasks to be performed by the client, and analysis procedures to be followed,” McClurkin explains.
Because many clinics routinely capture imaging and acoustic data during patient evaluation, including stroboscopic or high-speed video data, the complementary PAS measurements help provide a comprehensive profile of patient performance which can be tracked from initial evaluation through intervention.
Aside from its computer host, PAS is a fully integrated system supplied with all necessary peripherals: a pneumotach, airflow masks, disposable mouthpiece tubes, intraoral pressure tubes, and a microphone, all housed on an innovative hardware encasement for daily use in the clinic or research lab.
The APM, developed by KayPENTAX in collaboration with Sensimetrics Corporation and clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital, provides objective data as to how individuals use their voices throughout the day, outside the clinic, without relying solely on subjective and often unreliable self-reports. Quantitative measures of when, how long, how loud, and at what pitch the client vocalizes are obtained throughout the data collection period with a small accelerometer (contact microphone) adhered to the base of the client’s neck and connected by a cable to a hardware module worn in a waistpack. The clinician then downloads the data to a PC for analysis with APM software.
“Many voice disorders are the result of habitual faulty use,” notes McClurkin. “Yet clinicians have never had a practical method to objectively monitor how patients are using their voices throughout the day. APM provides that capability.” Because the APM collects extracted voice parameters only and not actual speech samples, clients need not worry about the confidentiality of their daily discourse.
Just as important as the objective data acquired by the APM, is the real-time feedback it provides, through a small vibrotactile unit worn on the client’s belt or in a pocket. Using the APM software to customize the unit for each client, the clinician can set a threshold (such as an amplitude value), which when exceeded, will elicit a vibrotactile sensation. This powerful self-monitoring feature of APM is designed to help patients recognize abusive vocal behaviors and modify them with the aim of achieving therapy goals quicker.
For further information about the latest clinical instruments from KayPENTAX for speech pathologists, ENTs, and phoniatricians, contact KayPENTAX at (973) 628-6200, fax: (973) 628-6363, or visit www.kaypentax.com.