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Keywords:

  • Aging;
  • airflow;
  • aerodynamics;
  • vocal function exercises

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis: Voice therapy can improve the vocal quality of elderly patients with voice problems, but the changes in vocal aerodynamics associated with physiologic voice therapy are not well documented. The purpose of the present study was to determine the changes in vocal aerodynamics as a result of the management program known as Vocal Function Exercises (VFEs).

Study Design: Pre- and post-treatment differences in VFE maximum phonation times (MPT) and measures of vocal aerodynamics were analyzed.

Methods: There were 19 participants, aged 60 to 78 years, who performed VFEs twice a day for 12 weeks. Aerodynamic measures of glottal airflow and subglottic pressure were collected at comfortable, high, and low pitches both before the initiation of the exercise program and again at its conclusion. MPT data were collected weekly.

Results: The participants showed continuous improvement in VFE MPT across the 12 weeks. Significant differences occurred from pre- to post-therapy on some measures of vocal aerodynamics relating to glottic closure.

Conclusions: Decrease in glottic airflow was achieved, with a concomitant increase in subglottic pressure, but without an increase in acoustic power (comfortable and low pitch). Improvement in VFE MPT mirrored the improvement in vocal aerodynamics.