Effects of age, sex, and body position on orofacial muscle tone in healthy adults

Angela M. Dietsch, Heather M. Clark, Jessica N. Steiner, Nancy Pearl Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Quantification of tissue stiffness may facilitate identification of abnormalities in orofacial muscle tone and thus contribute to differential diagnosis of dysarthria. Tissue stiffness is affected by muscle tone as well as age-related changes in muscle and connective tissue. Method: The Myoton-3 measured tissue stiffness in 40 healthy adults, including equal numbers of men and women in each of two age groups: 18–40 years and 60+ years. Data were collected from relaxed muscles at the masseter, cheek, and lateral tongue surfaces in two positions: reclined on the side and seated with head tilted. Results: Tissue stiffness differed across age, sex, and measurement site with multiple interaction effects. Overall, older subjects exhibited higher stiffness coefficients and oscillation frequency measures than younger subjects whereas sex differences varied by tissue site. Effects of body position were inconsistent across tissue site and measurement. Conclusions: Although older subjects were expected to have lower muscle tone, age-related nonmuscular tissue changes may have contributed to yield a net effect of higher stiffness. These data raise several considerations for the development of accurate normative data and for future diagnostic applications of tissue stiffness assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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