Oral Breathing Challenge in Participants With Vocal Attrition Vocal folds undergo osmotic challenge by mouth breathing during singing, exercising, and loud speaking. Just 15 min of obligatory oral breathing, to dry the vocal folds, increases phonation threshold pressure (Pth) and expiratory vocal effort in healthy speakers (M. Sivasankar & K. Fisher, 2002). We questioned whether oral breathing is ... Research Article
EDITOR'S AWARD
Research Article  |   December 01, 2003
Oral Breathing Challenge in Participants With Vocal Attrition
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mahalakshmi Sivasankar
    Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Kimberly V. Fisher
    Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Contact author: Kimberly V. Fisher, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail: kim-fisher@northwestern.edu
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2003
Oral Breathing Challenge in Participants With Vocal Attrition
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1416-1427. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/110)
History: Received April 30, 2003 , Accepted May 6, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1416-1427. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/110)
History: Received April 30, 2003; Accepted May 6, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

Vocal folds undergo osmotic challenge by mouth breathing during singing, exercising, and loud speaking. Just 15 min of obligatory oral breathing, to dry the vocal folds, increases phonation threshold pressure (Pth) and expiratory vocal effort in healthy speakers (M. Sivasankar & K. Fisher, 2002). We questioned whether oral breathing is more detrimental to phonation in healthy participants with a history of temporary vocal attrition. The effects of a 15-min oral or nasal breathing challenge on Pth and perceived expiratory vocal effort were compared for participants reporting symptoms of vocal attrition (N= 18, ages 19–38 years) and normal controls (N= 20, ages 19–33 years). Postchallenge-prechallenge differences in Pth (ΔPth) and effort (ΔEffort) revealed that oral breathing, but not nasal breathing, increased Pth (p > .001) and effort (p > .001) at low, comfortable, and high pitch. ΔPth was significantly greater in participants with vocal attrition than in normal controls (p > .001). Nasal breathing reduced Pth for all controls but not for all participants reporting vocal attrition. ΔPth was significantly and linearly correlated with ΔEffort (rvocal attrition=.81, p > .001; rcontrol=.84, p > .001). We speculate that the greater increases in Pth in participants reporting vocal attrition may result from delayed or inadequate compensatory response to superficial laryngeal dehydration. Obligatory oral breathing may place voice users at risk for exacerbating vocal attrition. That sol layer depletion by obligatory oral breathing increased Pth and vocal effort provides support for the role of superficial hydration in maintaining ease of phonation.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Danielle Lodewyck with reliability analyses and the contribution of Steve Zecker to statistical analyses. This work was supported by a National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 1K08DC00168, awarded to the second author.
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