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Effects of asymmetric superior laryngeal nerve stimulation on glottic posture, acoustics, vibration


  • Presented as an oral presentation at The Triological Society Combined Sections Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A., January 26, 2013.

  • This study was supported by Grant No. RO1 DC011300 from the National Institutes of Health. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



Evaluate the effects of asymmetric superior laryngeal nerve stimulation on the vibratory phase, laryngeal posture, and acoustics.

Study Design

Basic science study using an in vivo canine model.


The superior laryngeal nerves were symmetrically and asymmetrically stimulated over eight activation levels to mimic laryngeal asymmetries representing various levels of superior laryngeal nerve paresis and paralysis conditions. Glottal posture change, vocal fold speed, and vibration of these 64 distinct laryngeal-activation conditions were evaluated by high speed video and concurrent acoustic and aerodynamic recordings. Assessments were made at phonation onset.


Vibratory phase was symmetric in all symmetric activation conditions, but consistent phase asymmetry toward the vocal fold with higher superior laryngeal-nerve activation was observed. Superior laryngeal nerve paresis and paralysis conditions had reduced vocal fold strain and fundamental frequency. Superior laryngeal nerve activation increased vocal fold closure speed, but this effect was more pronounced for the ipsilateral vocal fold. Increasing asymmetry led to aperiodic and chaotic vibration.


This study directly links vocal-fold tension asymmetry with vibratory phase asymmetry, in particular the side with greater tension leads in the opening phase. The clinical observations of vocal fold lag, reduced vocal range, and aperiodic voice in superior laryngeal paresis and paralysis is also supported.

Level of Evidence

N/A. Laryngoscope, 123:3110–3116, 2013