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Authors Jiang J, Stern J, Chen HJ, Solomon NP
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Journal Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. Volume: 113 Issue: 4 Pages: 277-82
Publish Date 2004 Apr
PubMed ID 15112969

Vocal efficiency is a quantitative measure of the ability of the larynx to convert subglottal power to acoustic power. On the basis of the scant previous literature and clinical intuition, we tested the hypothesis that vocal efficiency, as an indicator of the functional status of the larynx, is abnormally reduced in persons with vocal nodules and polyps. Because the most difficult aspect of obtaining measures of vocal efficiency has been the determination of subglottal pressure, we applied a noninvasive airflow interruption technique for this purpose. Subjects with normal voices (n = 22), vocal polyps (n = 14), and vocal nodules (n = 16) phonated at different intensities into a mask connected by way of piping to a flow meter, a pressure transducer, and an acoustic microphone. Inflation of a balloon-type valve located within the piping provided interruption of phonation. The intraoral pressure plateau occurring during flow interruption was used to estimate subglottal pressure. Subglottal power and acoustic power were determined, and their quotient provided a measure of vocal efficiency. The vocal efficiency in the normal subjects averaged 1.15 × 10(-5) at 70 dB, 3.17 × 10(-5) at 75 dB, 7.52 × 10(-5) at 80 dB, and 1.41 × 10(-4) at 85 dB. The vocal efficiency in the patients with vocal polyps averaged 3.62 × 10(-6) at 70 dB, 8.34 × 10(-6) at 75 dB, 2.10 × 10(-5) at 80 dB, and 4.26 × 10(-5) at 85 dB. The vocal efficiency in the patients with vocal nodules averaged 4.32 × 10(-6) at 70 dB, 1.57 × 10(-5) at 75 dB, 4.26 × 10(-5) at 80 dB, and 8.34 × 10(-5) at 85 dB. As compared to the normal subjects, the patients with laryngeal polyps or vocal nodules had significantly reduced vocal efficiency. These results provide quantitative verification of the clinical impression of inefficient phonation in patients with mass lesions of the vocal folds. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System