Inhaled air must be adequately humidified to prevent vocal fold drying, which is detrimental to phonation. The water content of inspired air is reduced by parameters, such as increased breathing rate and oral route. Accelerated oral breathing challenges induce airway dehydration and are posited to affect airway function. The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether accelerated oral breathing challenges are detrimental to phonation. The secondary objective of this study was to determine whether individuals at increased risk for developing voice problems (i.e., smokers) have greater adverse phonatory effects after accelerated breathing challenge than nonsmoking controls.
Prospective study with between-subjects, repeated-measures design.
Female smokers (n = 12) and nonsmoking controls (n = 12) participated in this experimental study over 2 days that differed in ambient humidity. Phonation threshold pressures (PTP) were collected prior to and following short-term accelerated and habitual breathing challenges. Respiratory measures were collected during the challenges.
Short-term accelerated breathing challenges significantly increased PTP. This increase in PTP with accelerated breathing was transient and not significantly influenced by breathing route, ambient humidity, or smoking status. Likewise, respiratory measures were not affected by breathing route, ambient humidity, or smoking status.
During daily activities, such as exercise, individuals may engage in accelerated breathing for prolonged durations. This study demonstrates that even extremely short durations of accelerated breathing may affect phonation.