Research Supervisor Connect

Biofeedback in speech and swallowing intervention using ultrasound


Developing treatments of speech disorders in adults or children using ultrasound biofeedback.


Professor Tricia McCabe, Professor Kirrie Ballard, Dr Alison Purcell.

Research location

Disability and Community Research Group

Program type



For many people with speech and swallowing disorders tongue movement or placement is difficult. Ultrasound visualization of tongue posture may allow such patients to achieve better speech intelligibility. In recent years ultrasound equipment has been used to describe tongue postures in both typical and atypical speakers in highly experimental speech pathology research designs. At the same time, physiotherapists have begun using ultrasound to visualize the movement of individual muscles in clinical settings. We want to start a range of research projects exploring whether this type of biofeedback is equally useful in speech pathology clinical practice.  The research will examine using biofeedback to improve speech or swallow production across a range of disorders, with each researcher focused on their areas of expertise or interest. In order to ensure maximum learning and retention of the newly acquired speech skills, treatment will be designed around a principles of motor learning framework, where patients will use the ultrasound biofeedback in the clinic in the pre-practice phase of treatment and practice. If you are a speech pathologist or similar and would like to nominate a patient/diagnostic group to work with we would be happy to consider your suggestion.  Alternately we have expertise in developmental speech disorders, apraxia, cleft palate, head and neck cancer, hearing impairment, swallowing and dysarthria and welcome potential students in these areas.

Additional information

Research students at all levels are encouraged to contact the team to further discuss opportunities.  Students with a first class honours degree may be eligible for competitive scholarships and should contact Dr Tricia McCabe as early as possible to discuss deadlines and application procedures.  Students considering research who do not yet have an honours degree may consider enrolling in the 1 year, stand alone honours program attached to the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences and the team would be happy to provide appropriate projects for suitable candidates. Ultrasound facilities are available on the Cumberland Campus of The University of Sydney by courtesy of the Discipline of Medical Radiation Sciences. Projects could be completed at other premises if suitable ultrasound facilities are available to the student.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1776

Other opportunities with Professor Tricia McCabe