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Immediate Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on the Voice

Published:November 22, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.10.022

      Summary

      Objectives

      The benefits of mindfulness meditation are well documented. This study evaluated the immediate effects of mindfulness meditation (MM) on the voice and voice user.

      Study design

      Prospective experimental study.

      Methods

      Participants: 19 vocally healthy (VH) individuals, and 26 individuals with common voice disorders (CVD; benign lesions and hyperfunctional muscle tension) deemed stimulable for voice therapy. Exclusionary criteria: prior training or regular meditation practice. Participants recorded speech samples before and after a 11.5-minute prerecorded session of MM. Primary outcomes: phonatory aerodynamics and participants’ self-reported experience of voice. Secondary outcomes: self-reported anxiety, vocal acoustics, speech breathing patterns, and auditory-perceptual outcomes. Baseline self-reported measures of voice (Voice Handicap Index-10 - VHI-10), breathing (Dyspnea Index – DI), stress (Perceived Stress Scale - PSS), and trait mindfulness (Cognitive and Mindfulness Scale – Revised, CAMS-R, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire – FFMQ) were compared between groups.

      Results

      At baseline, CVD had significantly higher VHI-10 (P< 0.001) and DI (P= 0.0014), and lower trait mindfulness (CAMS-R, P= 0.02). No difference between groups for PSS or FFMQ. Changes postMM: decreased CPP for all-voiced sentences for VH (P= 0.003), decreased mean SPL (P= 0.012) on sustained vowel for VH, increased mean phonatory airflow during sustained vowel for CVD (P = 0.012). VH demonstrated a decrease in CPP on the all-voice sentence, and CVD demonstrated an increase, resulting in a significant between group difference (P= 0.013). Participants reported improvements in voice, emotional and physical states. State anxiety decreased for both groups (= < 0.001). No other objective outcomes reached significance.

      Conclusions

      After a brief MM, participants experienced improvement in physical, emotional, and cognitive states, and in their perceptions of their voice. Results indicate that a brief, single session of MM may be beneficial for some, but not sufficient to override habitual voice and speech patterns. Given the benefits of MM, future work should evaluate MM in a standard voice therapy protocol.

      Key Words

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