Original Research

It’s crunch time: Exploring the sensibility of food textural acoustics for individuals with dysphagia

Tasneem F. Karani, Mershen Pillay
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 68, No 1 | a806 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v68i1.806 | © 2021 Tasneem F. Karani, Mershen Pillay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 December 2020 | Published: 30 June 2021

About the author(s)

Tasneem F. Karani, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Mershen Pillay, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Speech and Language Therapy, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand; and, Department of Health Professions, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Various fields of study have alluded to food textural, and its associated acoustic, properties (i.e. food textural acoustics). However, because of the challenging nature of the inclusion of acoustic properties in diet textural modifications in dysphagia (swallowing disorders), this construct has not been sufficiently considered in the field.

Objective: To investigate the sensibility of food textural acoustics as a construct to understand eating for individuals with dysphagia.

Method: The study design was based on qualitative evidence synthesis methodologies. This involved revised scoping review methods (peer-reviewed published articles from 1980 to 2020 over seven databases), with an adapted consultation phase through online focus group discussions with six world experts. The data was analysed using frequency and thematic analysis, and ideology critique.

Results: A total of 11 articles were included in the revised scoping review analysis (seven research studies and four review articles). The analysis of these articles revealed a lack of diversity in geography, discipline and perspective exploring the construct of food textural acoustics. A total of three themes with three associated core arguments emerged from the revised scoping review and the consultation phase. These arguments highlighted (1) the need to study food textural acoustics because of its salience and pleasure responses, (2) possible methodological dilemmas in studying food textural acoustics due to the complexity of eating, and (3) considerations with regard to the approach and positioning adopted when studying the construct.

Conclusion: Food textural acoustics may be a sensible construct to understand eating for individuals with dysphagia. As eating is a complex process, there is a need to challenge the methods we use when studying this construct of food textural acoustics. We hope that this article inspires researchers and practitioners to think differently by using textural, and its associated acoustic, properties as a way to reimagine dysphagia practice, especially for those from low- to middle-income contexts such as South Africa and Brazil.


Keywords

food acoustics; texture; perception; physiology; multisensory eating; dysphagia

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