Retroflex versus bunched in treatment for rhotic misarticulation: Evidence from ultrasound biofeedback intervention

Tara Mc Allister Byun, Elaine R. Hitchcock, Michelle T. Swartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Method: Eight participants received 8 weeks of individual ultrasound biofeedback treatment targeting rhotics. In Study 1, all 4 participants were cued to match a bunched tongue-shape target. In Study 2, participants received individualized cues aimed at eliciting the tongue shape most facilitative of perceptually correct rhotics.

Purpose: To document the efficacy of ultrasound biofeedback treatment for misarticulation of the North American English rhotic in children. Because of limited progress in the first cohort, a series of two closely related studies was conducted in place of a single study. The studies differed primarily in the nature of tongue-shape targets (e.g., retroflex, bunched) cued during treatment.

Results: Participants in Study 1 showed only minimal treatment effects. In Study 2, all participants demonstrated improved production of rhotics in untreated words produced without biofeedback, with large to very large effect sizes.

Conclusions: The results of Study 2 indicate that with proper parameters of treatment, ultrasound biofeedback can be a highly effective intervention for children with persistent rhotic errors. In addition, qualitative comparison of Studies 1 and 2 suggests that treatment for the North American English rhotic should include opportunities to explore different tongue shapes, to find the most facilitative variant for each individual speaker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2116-2130
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Retroflex versus bunched in treatment for rhotic misarticulation: Evidence from ultrasound biofeedback intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this