The Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI) measures tongue strength and endurance, as well as lip strength and endurance – all important functions for talking, swallowing, eating and overall control.

“A wide variety of conditions can affect the tongue and lip muscles, such as stroke and traumatic brain injury – both of which do damage to the different areas of the brain that affect chewing, swallowing and speaking,” says Bacharach speech-language pathologist Alicia Spinelli, MS, CCC-SLP. “The IOPI measures the strength of the tongue and lips and helps us determine the most effective treatment protocol and to track the progress that patients make throughout the course of treatment.”


Measuring tongue and lip strength in kilopascals, pressure norms are based on gender and age – meaning adequate amount of pressure for an eight-year-old boy and a 45-year-old woman will be completely different.


The IOPI consists of an LCD screen that displays results and an air-filled bulb that patients place in their mouths. Patients press the bulb against the roof of the mouth or in between their lips as hard as they can. If the patient reaches the targeted pressure, the light on top of the IOPI goes from red to green, giving a visual representation of the success.


“The IOPI is great for tracking patients progress because once we have an initial score, we can set progress goals,” says Alicia. “And because the light on top changes colors based on if they reach the target, patients can visually see their progress and know they are making strides toward improvement.”


To learn more about Bacharach’s speech and language department visit or call 609-652-7000.


Alicia Spinelli, MS, CCC-SLP

Alicia Spinelli, MS, CCC-SLP


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