Effects of Age and Parkinson's Disease on the Relationship between Vocal Fold Abductory Kinematics and Relative Fundamental Frequency

  • Author Footnotes
    # Present Address: Delsys, Inc. and Altec, Inc., Natick, MA, 01760, USA,
    Jennifer M. Vojtech
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennifer M. Vojtech, Boston University, 677 Beacon St., Boston, MA, 02215.
    # Present Address: Delsys, Inc. and Altec, Inc., Natick, MA, 01760, USA,
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Delsys, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts

    Altec, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
  • Cara E. Stepp
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    # Present Address: Delsys, Inc. and Altec, Inc., Natick, MA, 01760, USA,



      This study reports on two experiments to examine vocal fold abduction and its relationship with relative fundamental frequency (RFF), considering two attributes that have been shown to elicit group differences in RFF: age (Experiment 1) and Parkinson's disease (PD; Experiment 2).


      For both experiments, simultaneous acoustic and nasendoscopic recordings were collected as participants produced the utterance, /ifi/. RFF values were computed from the acoustic signal, whereas abduction duration and glottic angle at voicing offset were identified from the laryngoscopic images. In Experiment 1, 50 speakers with typical voices (18–83 years) were analyzed to examine (1A) the effects of speaker age on individual outcome measures (RFF, abduction duration, glottic angle) via Pearson's correlation coefficients, and (1B) the effects of abductory measures and age on RFF via an analysis of covariance. In Experiment 2, 20 speakers with PD and 20 matched controls were analyzed to examine (2A) the effects of group (with/without PD) on outcome measures via an analysis of variance, and (2B) the relationship of RFF with abduction duration, glottic angle, and age when considering group via an analysis of covariance.


      Age demonstrated a significant, negative relationship with glottic angle (1A) but was not a significant factor when examining the relationship of vocal fold abduction and RFF (1B). Speaker group (with/without PD) demonstrated a significant effect on measures of RFF and abduction duration (2A) but was not a significant factor when examining the relationship of vocal fold abduction and RFF (2B).


      RFF is sensitive to changes in vocal fold abductory patterns during devoicing, irrespective of speaker age or PD status.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Voice
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Boone DR
        • McFarlane SC
        • Von Berg SL
        • et al.
        The Voice and Voice Therapy. Allyn & Bacon Communication Sciences and Disorders.
        Pearson, 2014
        • Löfqvist A
        • Baer T
        • McGarr NS
        • et al.
        The cricothyroid muscle in voicing control.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1989; 85: 1314-1321
        • Fukui N
        • Hirose H.
        Annual Report of the Institute of Phonetics University of Copenhagen.
        Ann Bulletin Res Inst Logoped Phoniatr, University Copenhag. 1983; 17: 61-71
        • Stevens KN.
        Physics of laryngeal behavior and larynx modes.
        Phonetica. 1977; 34: 264-279
        • Hirano M.
        Morphological structure of the vocal cord as a vibrator and its variations.
        Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica. 1974; 26: 89-94
        • Sonninen A
        • Hurme P
        • Laukkanen AM.
        The external frame function in the control of pitch, register, and singing mode: Radiographic observations of a female singer.
        J Voice. 1999; 13: 319-340
        • Choi HS
        • Berke GS
        • Ye M
        • et al.
        Function of the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle in phonation: In vivo laryngeal model.
        Otolaryngol–Head Neck Surg. 1993; 109: 1043-1051
        • Faaborg-Andersen K.
        Electromyographic investigation of intrinsic laryngeal muscles in humans.
        Acta Physiol Scand. 1957; 41: 1-150
        • Fujita M
        • Ludlow CL
        • Woodson GE
        • et al.
        A new surface electrode for recording from the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle.
        The Laryngoscope. 1989; 99: 316-320
        • Hirano M.
        Vocal mechanisms in singing: Laryngological and phoniatric aspects.
        J Voice. 1988; 2: 51-69
        • Rothenberg M
        • Mahshie JJ.
        Monitoring vocal fold abduction through vocal fold contact area.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1988; 31: 338-351
        • Watson BC.
        Fundamental frequency during phonetically governed devoicing in normal young and aged speakers.
        J Acoust Soc America. 1998; 103: 3642-3647
        • Ramig LO
        • Verdolini K.
        Treatment efficacy: Voice disorders.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. Feb 1998; 41: S101-S116
        • Goberman AE
        • Blomgren M.
        Fundamental frequency change during offset and onset of voicing in individuals with Parkinson disease.
        J Voice. 2008; 22: 178-191
        • Stepp CE.
        Relative fundamental frequency during vocal onset and offset in older speakers with and without Parkinson's disease.
        J Acoust Soc. Am. 2013; 133: 1637-1643
        • Takano S
        • Kimura M
        • Nito T
        • et al.
        Clinical analysis of presbylarynx—vocal fold atrophy in elderly individuals.
        Auris Nasus Larynx. 2010; 37: 461-464
        • Van Den Eeden SK
        • Tanner CM
        • Bernstein AL
        • et al.
        Incidence of Parkinson's disease: Variation by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2003; 157: 1015-1022
        • Schapira AHV
        • Chaudhuri KR
        • Jenner P.
        Non-motor features of Parkinson disease.
        Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Jul 2017; 18: 435-450
        • Braak H
        • Del Tredici K
        • Rub U
        • et al.
        Staging of brain pathology related to sporadic Parkinson's disease.
        Neurobiol Aging. 2003; 24: 197-211
        • Dietz V
        • Quintern J
        • Berger W.
        Electrophysiological studies of gait in spasticity and rigidity: Evidence that altered mechanical properties of muscle contribute to hypertonia.
        Brain. 1981; 104: 431-449
        • Edstrom L.
        Histochemical changes in upper motor lesions, Parkinsonism and disuse: Differential effect on white and red muscle fibres.
        Experientia. 1968; 24: 916-917
        • Mu L
        • Sobotka S
        • Chen J
        • et al.
        Altered pharyngeal muscles in Parkinson disease.
        J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2012; 71: 520-530
        • Rossi B
        • Siciliano G
        • Carboncini MC
        • et al.
        Muscle modifications in Parkinson's disease: Myoelectric manifestations.
        Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1996; 101: 211-218
        • Watts RL
        • Wiegner AW
        • Young RR.
        Elastic properties of muscles measured at the elbow in man: II. Patients with Parkinsonian rigidity.
        J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1986; 49: 1177-1181
        • Zarzur AP
        • Duprat AC
        • Cataldo BO
        • et al.
        Laryngeal electromyography as a diagnostic tool for Parkinson's disease.
        The Laryngoscope. 2013; 124: 725-729
        • Zarzur AP
        • Duprat AC
        • Shinzato G
        • et al.
        Laryngeal electromyography in adults with Parkinson's disease and voice complaints.
        The Laryngoscope. 2007; 117: 831-834
        • Dalrymple-Alford JC
        • MacAskill MR
        • Nakas CT
        • et al.
        The MOCA.
        Neurology. 2010; 75: 1717
        • Stepp CE
        • Heaton JT
        • Stadelman-Cohen TK
        • et al.
        Characteristics of phonatory function in singers and nonsingers with vocal fold nodules.
        J Voice. 2011; 25: 714-724
        • Burk MH
        • Wiley TL.
        Continuous versus pulsed tones in audiometry.
        Am J Audiol. 2004; 13: 54-61
      1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Guidelines for manual pure-tone threshold audiometry. Rockville, MD2005.

        • Schow RL.
        Considerations in selecting and validating an adult/elderly hearing screening protocol.
        Ear Hear. 1991; 12: 337-348
        • Lien YS
        • Gattuccio CI
        • Stepp CE.
        Effects of phonetic context on relative fundamental frequency.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2014; 57: 1259-1267
        • Baken RJ
        • Orlikoff RF.
        Clinical Measurement of Speech and Voice.
        Singular Thomson Learning, 2000
        • Dailey SH
        • Kobler JB
        • Hillman RE
        • et al.
        Endoscopic measurement of vocal fold movement during adduction and abduction.
        Laryngoscope. 2005; 115: 178-183
        • Diaz-Cadiz M
        • McKenna VS
        • Vojtech JM
        • et al.
        Adductory vocal fold kinematic trajectories during conventional versus high-speed videoendoscopy.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2019; 62: 1685-1706
        • Ikuma T
        • Kunduk M
        • McWhorter AJ.
        Preprocessing techniques for high-speed videoendoscopy analysis.
        J Voice. 2013; 27: 500-505
        • Vojtech JM
        • Segina RK
        • Buckley DP
        • et al.
        Refining algorithmic estimation of relative fundamental frequency: Accounting for sample characteristics and fundamental frequency estimation method.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2019; 146: 3184
        • Lien YS
        • Michener CM
        • Eadie TL
        • et al.
        Individual monitoring of vocal effort with relative fundamental frequency: Relationships with aerodynamics and listener perception.
        J Speech, Lang Hear Res. 2015; 58: 566-575
        • McKenna VS
        • Heller Murray ES
        • Lien YS
        • et al.
        The relationship between relative fundamental frequency and a kinematic estimate of laryngeal stiffness in healthy adults.
        J Speech, Lang Hear Res. 2016; 59: 1283-1294
        • Eadie TL
        • Stepp CE.
        Acoustic correlate of vocal effort in spasmodic dysphonia.
        Ann Otol, Rhinol, Laryngol. 2013; 122: 169-176
        • Heller Murray ES
        • Lien YS
        • Van Stan JH
        • et al.
        Relative fundamental frequency distinguishes between phonotraumatic and non-phonotraumatic vocal hyperfunction.
        J Speech, Lang Hear Res. 2017; 60: 1507-1515
        • Serry MA
        • Stepp CE
        • Peterson SD.
        Physics of phonation offset: Towards understanding relative fundamental frequency observations.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2021; 149: 3654-3664
        • Gillies GE
        • Pienaar IS
        • Vohra S
        • et al.
        Sex differences in Parkinson's disease.
        Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014; 35: 370-384
        • Kempster GB
        • Gerratt BR
        • Verdolini Abbott K
        • et al.
        Consensus auditory-perceptual evaluation of voice: Development of a standardized clinical protocol.
        Am J Speech-Lang Pathol. 2009; 18: 124-132
        • Martínez-Martín P
        • Rodríguez-Blázquez C
        • Mario A
        • et al.
        Parkinson's disease severity levels and MDS-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.
        . Parkinson Related Disord. 2015; 21: 50-54
        • Goetz CG
        • Poewe W
        • Rascol O
        • et al.
        Movement Disorder Society task force report on the hoehn and yahr staging scale: Status and recommendations the Movement Disorder Society task force on rating scales for Parkinson's disease.
        Movement Disord. 2004; 19: 1020-1028
        • Hoehn MM
        • Yahr MD.
        Parkinsonism: Onset, progression and mortality.
        Neurology. 1967; 17: 427-442
        • Witte RS
        • Witte JS.
        Wiley, 2010
        • Iwahashi T
        • Ogawa M
        • Hosokawa K
        • et al.
        A detailed motion analysis of the angular velocity between the vocal folds during throat clearing using high-speed digital imaging.
        J Voice. 2016; 30 (:770.e1-8)
        • Poletto CJ
        • Verdun LP
        • Strominger R
        • et al.
        Correspondence between laryngeal vocal fold movement and muscle activity during speech and nonspeech gestures.
        J App Physiol. 2004; 97: 858-866
        • Park Y
        • Wang F
        • Díaz-Cádiz ME
        • et al.
        Vocal fold kinematics and relative fundamental frequency as a function of obstruent type and speaker age.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2021; 149: 2189-2199
        • Patel RR
        • Forrest K
        • Hedges D.
        Relationship between acoustic voice onset and offset and selected instances of oscillatory onset and offset in young healthy men and women.
        J Voice. 2017; 31 (:389.e9-389.e17)
        • Watson BC
        • Roark RM
        • Baken RJ.
        Vocal release time: A quantification of vocal offset.
        J Voice. 2012; 26: 682-687
        • Robb MP
        • Smith AB.
        Fundamental frequency onset and offset behavior: A comparative study of children and adults.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2002; 45: 446-456
        • Stepp CE
        • Hillman RE
        • Heaton JT.
        The impact of vocal hyperfunction on relative fundamental frequency during voicing offset and onset.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2010; 53: 1220-1226
        • Stepp CE
        • Sawin DE
        • Eadie TL.
        The relationship between perception of vocal effort and relative fundamental frequency during voicing offset and onset.
        J Speech Lang HearRes. 2012; 55: 1887-1896
        • Omori K
        • Slavit DH
        • Matos C
        • et al.
        Vocal fold atrophy: Quantitative glottic measurement and vocal function.
        Ann Otol, Rhinol, Laryngol. 1997; 106: 544-551
        • Bloch I
        • Behrman A.
        Quantitative analysis of videostroboscopic images in presbylarynges.
        Laryngoscope. 2001; 111: 2022-2027
        • Isshiki N
        • Shoji K
        • Kojima H
        • et al.
        Vocal fold atrophy and its surgical treatment.
        Ann Otol, Rhinol Laryngol. 1996; 105: 182-188
        • Angerstein W.
        Vocal changes and laryngeal modifications in the elderly (presbyphonia and presbylarynx).
        Laryngo-Rhino-Otologie. 2018; 97: 772-776
        • Pontes P
        • Brasolotto A
        • Behlau M.
        Glottic characteristics and voice complaint in the elderly.
        J Voice. 2005; 19: 84-94
        • Rodeño MT
        • Sánchez-Fernández JM
        • Rivera-Pomar JM.
        Histochemical and morphometrical ageing changes in human vocal cord muscles.
        Acta Otolaryngol. 1993; 113: 445-449
        • Ackermann H
        • Gröne BF
        • Hoch G
        • et al.
        Speech freezing in parkinson's disease: a kinematic analysis of orofacial movements by means of electromagnetic articulography.
        Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica. 1993; 45: 84-89
        • Ackermann H
        • Konczak J
        • Hertrich I.
        The temporal control of repetitive articulatory movements in parkinson's disease.
        Brain Lang. 1997; 56: 312-319
        • Connor NP
        • Abbs JH
        • Cole KJ
        • et al.
        Parkinsonian deficits in serial multiarticulate movements for speech.
        Brain. 1989; 112: 997-1009
        • Forrest K
        • Weismer G.
        Dynamic aspects of lower lip movement in parkinsonian and neurologically normal geriatric speakers’ production of stress.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1995; 38: 260-272
        • Forrest K
        • Weismer G
        • Turner GS.
        Kinematic, acoustic, and perceptual analyses of connected speech produced by Parkinsonian and normal geriatric adults.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1989; 85: 2608-2622
        • Yunusova Y
        • Weismer G
        Kent ray d, rusche nicole m. breath-group intelligibility in dysarthria.
        J Speech, Lang Hear Res. 2005; 48: 1294-1310
        • Kearney E
        • Giles R
        • Haworth B
        • et al.
        Sentence-level movements in parkinson's disease: loud, clear, and slow speech.
        J Speech, Lang Hear Res. 2017; 60: 3426-3440
        • Hillman RE
        • Holmberg EB
        • Perkell JS
        • et al.
        Objective assessment of vocal hyperfunction: An experimental framework and initial results.
        J Speech Hear Res. 1989; 32: 373-392