Phonatory Effects of Airway Dehydration: Preliminary Evidence for Impaired Compensation to Oral Breathing in Individuals With a History of Vocal Fatigue

Sivasankar, Mahalakshmi; Erickson, Elizabeth; Schneider, Sara; Hawes, Ashleigh
December 2008
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2008, Vol. 51 Issue 6, p1494
Academic Journal
Purpose: Airway drying is detrimental to phonation and is posited to exacerbate vocal fatigue. However, limited research has demonstrated the adverse phonatory effects of dehydration in speakers reporting vocal fatigue. We compared the negative phonatory consequences of short-term oral breathing at low, moderate, and high humidity in individuals reporting a history of vocal fatigue and control participants. Method: Females reporting a history of vocal fatigue (N = 8) and matched controls (N = 8) participated in a repeated-measures design over 3 different days. Results: Oral breathing at low and moderate humidity increased phonation threshold pressure ( PTP) to a greater extent in individuals reporting a history of vocal fatigue as compared to controls. Conversely, PTP did not increase in either participant group after oral breathing in a humid environment. Perceived phonatory effort ( PPE) ratings were poorly correlated with PTP. Conclusions: The emergence of between-group differences in PTP at low and moderate but not high ambient humidity demonstrates that drying challenges might be detrimental to voice production in individuals with a history of vocal fatigue. Based on the phonatory effects of dehydration, we suggest that individuals reporting vocal fatigue may demonstrate impaired compensation to airway drying induced by short-term oral breathing.


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