Research Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 2, P219-231, March 2008

Electrotherapy and the Human Voice: A Literature Review of the Historical Origins and Contemporary Applications


      The present article surveys the literature on the electrotherapy treatment for voice disorders from the mid-18th century to World War I (1914–1918) and the post 1970s reappearance of such therapies. The reappearance of electrotherapy as treatment for voice disorders in the past 20 years has been heralded as a major breakthrough. In light of our reading of the scientific literature of the 19th century, it can be shown to repeat many of the presuppositions of electrotherapists of that time. The current resurgence of interest and research in electrical stimulation of the larynx is buoyed by technological innovations analogous to those in the 19th century. Although the current state of research has enhanced our understanding of vocal fold physiology, it does not necessarily provide a new therapeutic approach as a survey of the most recent literature shows.

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