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CD 508 VOICE & VOICE DISORDERS Chapter 2 Anatomy & the Normal Voice Aspects of Normal Voice Loud enough to be heard Hygienic voice production Pleasing vocal quality Flexible enough to express emotion Represent speaker re age and gender Respiration

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CD 508

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CD 508


Chapter 2

Anatomy & the Normal Voice

Aspects of Normal Voice

  • Loud enough to be heard

  • Hygienic voice production

  • Pleasing vocal quality

  • Flexible enough to express emotion

  • Represent speaker re age and gender


  • Problem: conflict between physiological need and speaking-singing demands--> misuse of mechanism

Lung Schematic

INHALATION: Rib cage wall expands; diaphragm contracts & descends; lung air pressure lowers; outside air rushes in

Lateral View of Inspiration

EXPIRATION: Passive collapse

  • Lung tissue elasticity

  • Gravity

  • Visceral recoil

  • Rib untorquing

Most efficient and pleasing voice quality is produced at mid air-pressure and lung-volume levels

Tx: use midrange of air pressure and lung volume

Relaxation Pressure

  • Focus on respiration training is unnecessary for many patients with dysphonia

Active Components

  • Key Problem: tendency to squeeze the glottis closed in order to produce power, rather than increase air pressure and airflow by contracting abdominal muscles

  • --> strain on vocal mechanism



External intercostals

Pectoralis major & minor

Costal elevators

Serratus posterior

Neck accessories, esp.sternocleidomastoid



Internal intercostals

Posterior inferior serratus

Muscles of Respiration


Expiration entirely due to passive collapse properties of thorax


Adds function of expiratory muscles to prolong expiration beyond simple tidal volume


Lung Volume & Capacity

  • Tidal Volume - amt air in typical respiratory cycle

  • Inspiratory Reserve Volume - volume that can be inspired past tidal volume - AKA Complemental Air

  • Expiratory Reserve Volume - volume expired past tidal volume - AKA Supplemental Air

  • Residual Volume - air remaining in lungs beyond max. expiration

  • Vital Capacity - amt. that can be expired after maximum inhalation

  • Total Lung Capacity - total volume of air held in lungs following maximum inhalation

Biological roles of larynx

prevents foreign bodies from entering airway

fixates thorax by stopping airflow at glottal level, permitting heavy lifting/weight supporting feats

Valving action

fixed framework (cartilage)

able to open/close valve via intrinsic muscles of larynx

external support from extrinsic muscles of larynx


Effect of head position on Airway patency

Respiration - Phonation


Cricoid Cartilage

  • Sits atop the tracheal rings

  • Shaped like a signet ring - or enlarged tracheal ring - which would fit loosely on your little finger

  • Forms base for larynx

  • Arytenoids sit atop posterior wall

  • 2 pts of contact with thyroid at cricothyroid joint

Thyroid &EpiglottisCartilages

Thyroid Cartilage

  • Largest laryngeal cartilage

  • Thyroid notch at superior point of thyroid angles

  • U-shaped - posterior aspect is open

  • Cornu (horns) articulate with hyoid


  • Leaf-like cartilage arising from angle of thyroid cartilage, just below notch

  • Also attached to root of tongue, forming the valleculae

  • Serves to divert food around airway during swallowing process

Arytenoid Cartilages

  • Paired cartilages, shaped like a pyramid

  • Most important in larynx

  • Base is concave; sits atop posterior cricoid wall

  • Vocal process projects toward thyroid notch; vocal cords attach there

  • Muscular process is point of attachment for muscles that open and close cords

  • Slide laterally, rotate, and tilt inward







Inferior laryngeal constrictor









Extrinsic Muscles of the Larynx

Extrinsic Muscles - elevate and depress the larynx

  • Lift larynx during swallowing

  • Minimal vertical excursion during normal speech

  • Some elevation during high notes - esp from untrained singers --> stress on mechanism

  • Tx focus on minimal excursion


Lateral cricoarytenoid

Transverse arytenoid

Oblique arytenoid


Posterior cricoarytenoid


Medial thyroarytenoid



Lateral thyroarytenoid

Intrinsic Muscles of the Larynx

Posterior Cricoarytenoid

  • Lone abductor muscle

  • Origin posterior surface of cricoid

  • Angles up to insert in muscular process of arytenoid on same side

  • Rotates vocal process laterally

  • Innervated by recurrent laryngeal nerve

Lateral Cricoarytenoids

  • Adductors

  • Functions as direct agonist to posterior cricoarytenoid

  • Origin in upper border of cricoid arch and inserts onto muscular process of arytenoid on same side

  • Rotates muscle process forward and causes vocal process to ‘toe in’ at midline

Transverse Arytenoids

  • Adductors & fold compressors

  • Not paired, per se

  • Origin in lateral margin of one arytenoid and traverses the distance to the same spot on the other

  • Approximate bodies of arytenoids together

  • Innervated by recurrent laryngeal nerve

Oblique Arytenoids

  • Adductors

  • Origin in muscular process of one arytenoid; inserts on apex of the other

  • Fibers continue to lateral border of epiglottis --> aryepiglottic folds

  • Active during swallow & bring vocal cords closer together by approximating apex

Thyroarytenoid Muscles

  • Tensors

  • Form bulk of muscular portion of folds

    • Vocalis - inner section

    • External thyroarytenoid - outer section AKA thyromuscularis

  • Origin inner surface of thyroid; insert in vocal process and lateral surface of arytenoids

  • Shorten to lower pitch; also adduct glottis by muscular tension and elasticity

Conus Elasticus

  • Tough white membrane covering vocal folds

  • Gives vocal cords their shiny white appearance


Origin in anterior-lateral arch of cricoid; insert a) near lower horn of thyroid & b) lower margin of lateral thyroid wall

Innervated by superior laryngeal nerve

Increases distance between thyroid and arytenoid cartilages, increasing pitch by stretching folds

Tense folds by lengthening them

Minor adducting action

Cords run obliquely if SLN impaired

Cricothyroid Muscles

Summary of Intrinsic Muscle Activity


Phonation Function and the Mucosal Wave

  • Mucus lubricates tissue and dissipates heat, increasing potential vibration

  • During phonation the cover over the vocal fold body slides and produces a wave that moves or travels across the superior surface, dissipating before reaching cartilage

  • Any extra mass will alter normal wave

Myoelastic Dynamic Theory of Phonation

  • Intrinsic adductors approximate folds as expiration begins

  • Subglottal air pressure increases

  • Airflow velocity increases and blows folds apart

  • Static mass of folds and Bernoulli suction effect bring them back together

  • Contraction time @ 15 msec

Pitch Mechanism

  • Fundamental frequency - rate of vibration cycles per second

    • Men - 125-150 Hz

    • Women - 225-190 Hz

    • Children - 285-295 Hz

  • Related to fold thickness, length, and elasticity

  • Mean thickness/mass systematically decreases as pitch increases


F0 - 256 Hz

170-1040 Hz


F0 - 200 Hz

140-700 Hz


F0 - 135 Hz

95-550 Hz


F0 - 100 Hz

80-340 Hz

F0 & Pitch RangesTable 2.2 Text


  • Defined - a series of adjacent tones on a scale with similar perceptual features and seem to be generated by the same type of vibrations

    • Modal - normal conversation

    • Pulse - glottal fry; low pitch/airflow/volume

    • Falsetto - high pitched (male)

    • Whistle - very high (female), above F6

Loudness Mechanism

  • Sound pressure level governed by pressure supplied to larynx by lungs

  • As intensity increases folds remain closed for longer periods during cycle

  • Greater intensity is characterized by greater excursion of vibrating folds

  • More difficult to increase volume at low pitch levels

Quality Mechanisms

  • Perkins (1983)

    • Constriction, vertical and horizontal focus

    • ‘Head tone’ vs ‘Chest tone”

  • Efficiency best at higher end of vertical placement

  • Related to supraglottal resonance, originating at glottis

Resonance Mechanisms

  • Size and shape of vocal tract

  • Degree of muscular tension

    • High frequency best with high degree of pharyngeal wall tension

  • Closure patterns that separate oral and nasal cavities

    • site usually Passavant’s area, whether velar, posterior or lateral wall movement

Anatomy Reference

  • Seikel, A., King, D. & Drumwright, D. (2000). Anatomy and Physiology for Speech, Language, and Hearing (2nd ed.). San Diego: Singular Publishing/ Thompson Learning.

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