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Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 1998 Jul;35(4):287-92.

Nasalance levels in the speech of normal Australian children.

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Speech Science Laboratory, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



Nasalance scores have been shown to depend on the regional dialect of English spoken. Australian cleft palate clinics are increasingly making use of the Nasometer as part of their evaluation of velopharyngeal inadequacy. There are, however, no normative data for Australian English available as reference information. The objective of this study, therefore, was to obtain comprehensive nasalance data for a large group of Australian children, aged 4 to 9 years, for two standard nasalance passages (Zoo Passage and Nasal Sentences) and to investigate any gender or age differences within that age range.


The participants were 245 children (123 female, 122 male) ranging in age from 4 years, 0 months, to 9 years, 3 months. The children were recruited from a variety of schools and preschools across the Sydney metropolitan region. The children all spoke Australian English, and their hearing, articulation skills, and speech resonance were within normal limits.


Mean nasalance scores were obtained for two speech passages that are used as standards for Nasometer testing (Zoo Passage and Nasal Sentences). In addition, the nasalance data were analyzed for any gender and age dependence, using separate analyses of variance for each speech passage. Five consecutive age groups were used to examine age dependence (4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old children).


A mean score of 13.1 (SD, 5.9) was obtained for the Zoo Passage, and a mean of 59.6 (SD, 8.1) for the Nasal Sentences. The analysis of variance results indicated that, at a probability level of p < 0.01, there was no statistically significant age or gender dependence for either speech passage.


These normative nasalance data for children who speak Australian English will provide important reference information for clinicians who assess nasality disorders in cleft palate clinics in Australia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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