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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 May;127(5):3166-76. doi: 10.1121/1.3365257.

A virtual trajectory model predicts differences in vocal fold kinematics in individuals with vocal hyperfunction.

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Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


A simple, one degree of freedom virtual trajectory model of vocal fold kinematics was developed to investigate whether kinematic features of vocal fold movement confirm increased muscle stiffness. Model simulations verified that increases in stiffness were associated with changes in kinematic parameters, suggesting that increases in gesture rate would affect kinematic features to a lesser degree in vocal hyperfunction patients given the increased levels of muscle tension they typically employ to phonate. This hypothesis was tested experimentally in individuals with muscle tension dysphonia (MTD; N = 10) and vocal nodules (N = 10) relative to controls with healthy normal voice (N = 10) who were examined with trans-nasal endoscopy during a simple vocal fold abductory-adductory task. Kinematic measures in MTD patients were less affected by increased gesture rate, consistent with the hypothesis that these individuals have elevated typical laryngeal muscle tension. Group comparisons of the difference between medium and fast gesture rates (Mann-Whitney, one-tailed) showed statistically significant differences between the control and MTD individuals on the two kinematic features examined (p<0.05). Results in nodules participants were mixed and are discussed independently. The findings support the potential use of vocal fold kinematics as an objective clinical assay of vocal hyperfunction.

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