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Purpose This study investigated whether metabolic respiratory requirements (treadmill workload) affected glottal valving in phonation, based on aerodynamic measures, when a sound pressure level (vocal SPL) is dictated as a target goal. Consistent with a theory of action, we hypothesized that adjustments in glottal valving as measured by laryngeal airway resistance would be dependent upon vocal SPL level, even as workload increased, and loud vocal SPL would interfere more with respiratory homeostasis than spontaneous vocal SPL. Method Thirty-two women enrolled who were ages 18-35 years. A repeated-measures design was used with random assignment of workload and vocal SPL conditions. Aerodynamic and acoustic data were collected during phonation, as were gas volume and concentration data. Analyses were performed with generalized estimating equations. Results Laryngeal airway resistance at a low workload significantly increased when vocal SPL changed from spontaneous to loud. At a loud vocal SPL, laryngeal airway resistance decreased when workload changed from rest to either low or high. Regarding the respiratory system response, minute ventilation increased at a loud vocal SPL when workload changed from rest to either low or high. End-tidal CO increased under low and high workloads relative to rest at loud and spontaneous vocal SPLs. Conclusions Mostly consistent with a theory of action, in which motor control is goal dependent (i.e., vocal SPL targets), speakers can achieve a loud vocal SPL despite increases in workload requirements. In contrast, laryngeal airway resistance stays relatively low when vocal SPL occurs spontaneously, suggesting glottal adjustments are made to improve gas exchange as metabolic respiratory requirements become prioritized. Metabolic respiratory requirements appear to be overcome by the overlay of motor control for voicing when a loud vocal SPL is targeted. The implication of goal-dependent phonation for clinicians is that real-world conditions (i.e., loud vocal SPL) matter in vocal testing and voice therapy.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR
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