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Effects of Straw Phonation Through Tubes of Varied Lengths on Sustained Vowels in Normal-Voiced Participants

  • Randal D. Mills
    Affiliations
    Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Shawna Rivedal
    Affiliations
    Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Colten DeMorett
    Affiliations
    Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Grace Maples
    Affiliations
    Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Jack J. Jiang
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jack Jiang, 1300 University Avenue, 2745 Medical Sciences Center, Madison, WI 53706.
    Affiliations
    Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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      Summary

      Objective

      To examine the immediate effects of straw phonation exercises in normal subjects while altering the effective length of the vocal tract.

      Study Design

      A nonrandomized comparison of semi-occluded vocal tract length during straw phonation exercises was carried out.

      Methods

      Oral pressure, mean airflow, aerodynamic resistance, and contact quotient were measured in 20 healthy subjects immediately before and after straw phonation exercises. A short- and long-duration phonatory task was used to examine the voice parameters during semi-occluded vocal tract exercises. These tasks involved repeating a vocalization of the vowel /a/ through a tube. Each subject underwent the protocol using tubes of three different lengths (7.5 cm, 15 cm, and 30 cm) to allow for the effect of moving the outlet of the vocal tract distal to the mouth to be monitored.

      Results

      Oral pressure and aerodynamic resistance decreased significantly, contact quotient showed a decreasing trend, and airflow increased significantly in pre- and postmeasurements 15 minutes after a long-duration phonatory task. Short-duration tasks were found to have no effect on voice parameters.

      Conclusion

      The results present and validate a method to isolate the effect that the length of a semi-occluded vocal tract has during straw phonation exercises.

      Key Words

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