Exploring the Clinical Utility of Relative Fundamental Frequency as an Objective Measure of Vocal Hyperfunction Purpose Vocal hyperfunction, related to abnormal laryngeal muscle activity, is considered the proximal cause of primary muscle tension dysphonia (pMTD). Relative fundamental frequency (RFF) has been proposed as an objective acoustic marker of vocal hyperfunction. This study examined (a) the ability of RFF to track changes in vocal hyperfunction after ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Exploring the Clinical Utility of Relative Fundamental Frequency as an Objective Measure of Vocal Hyperfunction
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nelson Roy
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Rebecca A. Fetrow
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Ray M. Merrill
    Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Christopher Dromey
    Department of Communication Disorders, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Nelson Roy: nelson.roy@health.utah.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Bruce Gerratt
    Editor and Associate Editor: Bruce Gerratt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Exploring the Clinical Utility of Relative Fundamental Frequency as an Objective Measure of Vocal Hyperfunction
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1002-1017. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0354
History: Received October 9, 2015 , Revised February 3, 2016 , Accepted March 28, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1002-1017. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0354
History: Received October 9, 2015; Revised February 3, 2016; Accepted March 28, 2016

Purpose Vocal hyperfunction, related to abnormal laryngeal muscle activity, is considered the proximal cause of primary muscle tension dysphonia (pMTD). Relative fundamental frequency (RFF) has been proposed as an objective acoustic marker of vocal hyperfunction. This study examined (a) the ability of RFF to track changes in vocal hyperfunction after treatment for pMTD and (b) the influence of dysphonia severity, among other factors, on the feasibility of RFF computation.

Method RFF calculations and dysphonia severity ratings were derived from pre- and posttreatment recordings from 111 women with pMTD and 20 healthy controls. Three vowel–voiceless consonant–vowel stimuli were analyzed.

Results RFF onset slope consistently varied as a function of group (pMTD vs. controls) and time (pretherapy vs. posttherapy). Significant correlations between RFF onset cycle 1 and dysphonia severity were observed. However, in many samples, RFF could not be computed, and adjusted odds ratios revealed that these unanalyzable data were linked to dysphonia severity, phonetic (vowel–voiceless consonant–vowel) context, and group (pMTD vs. control).

Conclusions RFF onset appears to be sensitive to the presence and degree of suspected vocal hyperfunction before and after therapy. The large number of unanalyzable samples (related especially to dysphonia severity in the pMTD group) represents an important limitation.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge Cara E. Stepp and Stephanie Lien from Boston University, who provided extremely valuable insight, support, and expertise regarding the calculation of relative fundamental frequency.
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