Doctoral defence: Lagle Lehes "The first study of voice and resonance related treatment outcomes of Estonian cleft palate children”

On October 19th at 13.00 Lagle Lehes will defend her thesis The first study of voice and resonance related treatment outcomes of Estonian cleft palate children”.



Associate professor Triin Jagomägi, University of Tartu
Associate professor Marika Padrik, University of Tartu
doctor Priit Kasenõmm, Kliinikum



Associate professor Karin Brunnegård, Umeå Ülikool, Rootsi



Oral clefts are the second most common birth defect. Children born with any type of non-syndromic cleft often demonstrate multiple problems such as early swallowing and feeding difficulties, abnormal articulation, resonance, voice disorders, craniofacial growth deviance and orthodontic abnormalities, hearing loss and poor language acquisition skills, psychosocial issues and learning difficulties at school. Research shows that lower satisfaction with appearance and speech seems to be mostly associated with increased emotional and social difficulties.  In Estonia, about 20 CP±L children are born every year. This study is the first attempt to d methodologically research resonance in speech and voice disorders in the Estonian cleft palate children, and to set measurable standards for treatment outcomes. We aimed to develop specific assessment protocols tailored to the Estonian language: (1) developed Estonian-specific optimised speech stimuli for Nasometer II and established normative nasalance scores, (2) developed Estonian specific optimised speech stimuli for videonasoendoscopy, (3) performed videolaryngostroboscopy, acoustic analysis of voice, and measured voice related quality of life, (4) determined the cephalometric parameters that predominantly relate to resonance disorders. We found that Estonian cleft palate children exhibit both resonance and voice disorders quite expressively. Based on our findings, changes in craniofacial growth, especially in the length of soft and hard palate, the distance between the hyoid bone and the third cervical vertebra, and the angle formed by the maxilla and mandible are more sensitive to resonance. These results are of practical use to multidisciplinary CP±L teams, especially orthodontists and surgeons. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of speech therapy and of orthodontic and surgical intervention.  


The meeting can also be viewed on MS Teamsis.