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Mucosal Wave Properties of a Human Vocal Fold

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The objective of this research was to investigate mucosal wave propagation in laboratory experiments, across a variety of phonatory conditions. In particular, the focus was on the medial and superior surface dynamics of the vocal fold, which quantify mucosal wave propagation, but have been relatively little studied.

High-speed, digital imaging of the superior and medial surfaces of the vocal fold was performed using an excised human hemilarynx setup. Surface dynamics were characterized and differentiated across a variety of phonatory conditions. During sustained, flow-induced oscillation, the local maxima of vocal fold mucosal displacements, velocities and acceleration and their particular phase delays in the glottal cycle were investigated. Statistical analysis was performed, examining the influence of induced flow, adductory stimulation, and length of the vocal fold. To give an overview, the grand average values were computed and discussed for the complete series of 24 recordings.

Increasing the applied airflow, yielded higher values for lateral displacements as well as higher velocity and acceleration values. Elongating the vocal fold resulted in decreased lateral displacements. The mucosal wave propagation apparently increased for higher flow, elongated folds, and higher adduction forces. Performing grand averages revealed the three-dimensional dynamical behavior over the superior and medial surface of the vocal fold. A significant increase in the amplitudes of the dynamical quantities between inferior and superior regions was detected. The data showed a nearly 180 degree phase delay between inferior and superior regions of the vocal fold with respect to lateral displacements, velocities, and accelerations. Phase delays for the vertical displacements were also present, but less pronounced.

Using a hemilarynx methodology, mucosal wave propagation was characterized and differentiated over the superior and medial surfaces of the vocal fold surface across a range of phonatory conditions. While an understanding of the correlation between vocal fold dynamics and phonatory physiology/pathology is still in its infancy, the data presented here help to establish such connections. The data are also useful for the development and evaluation of physical and numerical models of vocal fold vibration. However, since only one larynx has been investigated the results have to be seen as preliminary.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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