Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 2, P291.e1-291.e9, March 2023

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Exploring the Characteristics of Functional Dysphonia by Multimodal Methods

Published:January 23, 2021DOI:



      To explore the characteristics of functional dysphonia (FD) using multimodal methods.


      A total of 47 FD patients and a group of 22 normal controls were enrolled. Subjective auditory-perceptual assessment of the voice, Voice Handicap Index (VHI) 30, acoustic analysis, psychological scales assessment, surface electromyography (sEMG), nasal airflow and thoracoabdominal studies were performed.


      FD was mostly triggered by mood changes. Patient self-evaluation was more serious than auditory-perceptual evaluation and objective acoustic analysis. There was no obvious organic disorder observed under laryngoscope in patients with FD, but there were cases of glottic insufficiency and supraglottic compensation. With regards to sEMG, nasal airflow, chest, and abdomen examination results: (1) sEMG in the normal control group was symmetrical and stable on both sides during rest and phonation, and nasal airflow as well as the chest and abdomen were symmetrical and regular; (2) sEMG in the FD group showed increased recruitment of the sternocleidomastoid muscles, the infra- and suprahyoid muscles, and the cricothyroid muscle, accompanied by prephonation recruitment and postphonation persistence, mainly involving the infra- and suprahyoid muscles; (3) In the FD group, there was shortened inspiratory time, increased chest breathing amplitude, and reduced abdominal breathing, with predominantly chest breathing, and a “breath-holding” phenomenon was observed in some patients, with a significant increase in the number of breaths during the short text task.


      FD occurs mainly in middle-aged women, and there are many triggers. The Hamilton Anxiety/Depression Rating Scale scores were higher, and subjective symptoms were more serious than objective evaluation. No obvious organic changes were seen under laryngoscope, and features such as supraglottic compensation and glottic insufficiency were observed; muscle tension was significantly higher than that of the normal control group, and prephonation recruitment and postphonatory persistence were seen in some patients; the breathing pattern was mainly chest breathing, and the times of breaths during the short text task significantly increased. With identification of the characteristics of FD, the therapy could be focused them.

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