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To evaluate the evidence of aerosol generation across tasks involved in voice and speech assessment and intervention, to inform better management and to reduce transmission risk of such diseases as COVID-19 in healthcare settings and the wider community. Systematic literature review. Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, PubMed Central and grey literature through ProQuest, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COVID-Evidence and speech pathology national bodies were searched up until August 13th, 2020 for articles examining the aerosol-generating activities in clinical voice and speech assessment and intervention within speech pathology. Of the 8288 results found, 39 studies were included for data extraction and analysis. Included articles were classified into one of three categories: research studies, review articles or clinical guidelines. Data extraction followed appropriate protocols depending on the classification of each article (e.g. PRISMA for review articles). Articles were assessed for risk of bias and certainty of evidence using the GRADE system. Six behaviours were identified as aerosol generating. These were classified into three categories: vegetative acts (coughing, breathing), verbal communication activities of daily living (speaking, loud voicing), and performance-based tasks (singing, sustained phonation). Certainty of evidence ranged from very low to moderate with variation in research design and variables. This body of literature helped to both identify and categorise the aerosol-generating behaviours involved in speech pathology clinical practice and confirm the low level of evidence throughout the speech pathology literature pertaining to aerosol generation. As many aerosol-generating behaviours are common human behaviours, these findings can be applied across healthcare and community settings. Registration number CRD42020186902 with PROSPERO International Prospective Register for Systematic Reviews.


Antonia Margarita Chacon, Duy Duong Nguyen, Patricia McCabe, Catherine Madill. Aerosol-generating behaviours in speech pathology clinical practice: A systematic literature review. PloS one. 2021;16(4):e0250308

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PMID: 33909654

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