Stress velopharyngeal incompetence in collegiate trombone players

Kassidy Bennett, Jeannette D. Hoit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Symptoms of stress velopharyngeal incompetence (SVPI) have been reported by many wind instrument players. The current study was designed to determine (1) if symptoms of SVPI were accompanied by aeromechanical signs of SVPI and (2) if signs of SVPI differed across musical tasks. Design: Participants were studied during a single recording session. Setting: The study was conducted in a university laboratory. Participants: Participants were 10 collegiate trombone players. They were separated into two groups: six who reported symptoms of SVPI and four who reported no symptoms. Main Outcome Measure: Nasal pressure recorded during trombone playing was used to determine velopharyngeal status (open or closed). Results: None of the participants exhibited an open velopharynx during trombone playing; however, all participants had positive nasal pressure (indicating an open velopharynx) immediately prior to sound onset on at least some of their breath groups. Two participants had positive nasal pressure prior to the vast majority of their productions and were given biofeedback and instruction to change this behavior. Conclusions: Symptoms of SVPI do not necessarily indicate the presence of a velopharyngeal- nasal leak during wind instrument playing but may reflect awareness of air leaks immediately prior to sound production. Pre-sound velopharyngeal-nasal air leaks may be amenable to behavioral modification by biofeedback and instruction. Nasal pressure measurement (using a nasal cannula) provides a simple, yet powerful, way to identify SVPI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Biofeedback
  • Brass musicians
  • Nasal air pressure
  • SVPI
  • Wind instrument players

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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