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Flashcards in Voice Disorders Deck (35)
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Laryngeal skeleton:

1 Bone – hyoid bone
Hyoid membrane

6 Cartilages:
-Thyroid notch
Epiglottis - unpaired
Arytenoid (2)
-Vocal process and muscular process
Corniculate (2)
Cuneform (2)


Laryngeal Cavities:

Laryngeal ventricle


Vocal Folds

Made up of different layers

Outer layer = epithelium

Below the epithelium = lamina propria
-Superficial layer = Reinke’s space
-Intermediate layer – less flexible than Reinke’s space
-Deep layer – less flexible than the first two layers

Below the lamina propria = thyroarytenoid muscle


Cover-Body Model

Cover = epithelium and superior layer of the lamina propria
Loose and pliable; vibrates the most

Vocal ligament = intermediate and deep lamina propria layers

Body = thyroarytenoid muscle


Extrinsic Muscles of the Larynx

Extrinsic – connect to the hyoid bone and a structure outside of the larynx

Divided into suprahyoids and infrahyoids

Suprahyoids- attach above the hyoid bone; contraction elevates the larynx

Infrahyoids- attach below the hyoid bone; contractions depresses the larynx


Intrinsic Muscles of the Larynx

Intrinsic – either abduct or adduct the vocal folds
Abduct – contraction opens the vocal folds
Adduct – contraction closes the vocal folds


Intrinsic Muscles of the Larynx

Intrinsic – either abduct or adduct the vocal folds

Intrinsic muscles – adduction
-Lateral cricoarytenoids (insert into the muscular process)
-Interarytenoid – transverse and oblique

Intrinsic muscles – abduction
-Posterior cricoarytenoid

Tensors – control vocal pitch
-Cricothyroid – pars rectus and pars oblique


Ligaments of the Larynx

Thyroepiglottic ligament


Joints of the Larynx

Cricoarytenoid joints

Cricothyroid joints
-Downward tilt of the thyroid cartilage
-Upwards tilt cricoid cartilage


Laryngeal Innervation

Vagus (not Vegas) X

Divided into three main branches:

Pharyngeal nerve – motor information to some soft palate muscles

Superior laryngeal nerve
Internal – sensory information to larynx
External – motor information to the cricothyroid muscle

Recurrent laryngeal – motor information to all intrinsic muscles of the larynx except cricothyroid
-Right recurrent loops around subclavian artery
-Left recurrent loops around the arch of the aorta (heart) – cardiac problems could cause vocal fold paralysis


Myoelastic-Aerodynamic Theory:

Muscle force - Lateral cricoarytenoid and interarytenoid muscles contract

Tissue elasticity – vocal folds

Air pressures – subglottal pressures


Bernoulli Principle:

Air increases velocity (speed) and decreases in pressure when passing through a narrow channel

This draws the vocal folds medially

Positive air pressure opens the vocal folds and negative air pressure closes the vocal folds

One cycle of vocal fold vibration


Voice Production

Mucosal wave created from vocal fold movement
-Open from bottom to top
-Close from top to bottom

Voiced speech sounds – vocal folds come together and vibrate
Voiceless speech sounds and inhale – vocal folds are apart

Fundamental frequency – rate of vocal fold vibration
-Measured in cycles per second/Hertz
Children 250-300 Hz
Adult females 190-250 Hz
Adult males 180-250 Hz


Pitch & Loudness

Raise pitch:
Vocal folds lengthen, tighten, and increase tension

Lower pitch:
Vocal folds relax, increase mass, and decrease vibration

Increase loudness:
Vocal folds are held together tightly
Subglottal pressure builds, then forcefully blows apart vocal folds
Vocal folds close more forcefully


Infant Larynx

Positioned high in the neck
-Gradually lowers until ~ age 15-20


Vocal folds are short

Complex vocal ligament layers emerge around age 3 years

Neurologically immature (coordination improves w/ maturation)


Puberty & Laryngeal Development

Cartilages enlarge

Epiglottis flattens and becomes less bulky

Males- angle of thyroid cartilages decreases (Adam’s apple - thyroid notch becomes more visible)

Males – laryngeal mucosa become stronger and thicker

Vocal folds grow

Pitch lowers

Mature voice ~18 years


Aging & Laryngeal Development

Cartilages ossify – stiffen

Thinning and atrophy of vocal fold muscles

Bowing vocal folds

Reduced lubrication

“Senescent voice”
Tremulous, weak, hoarse, or breathy
Good physical health – good vocal quality


Voice Disorders

Structural disorders – physical changes in the vocal mechanism
E.g., changes in vocal fold tissue and the aging larynx

Neurogenic disorders – problems with CNS or PNS innervation of the larynx – affects vocal functioning
E.g., vocal tremor, spasmodic dysphonia, or vocal fold paralysis

Functional disorders- improper or inefficient use of the vocal mechanism
E.g., vocal fatigue, muscle tension aphonia, ventricular phonation

Overlap is common


Signs & Symptoms of Voice Disorders

Dysphonia – altered pitch, loudness or vocal effort
-Breathiness (puffs of air escape the VF)
-Hoarseness (irregularity in quality)
-Harshness (strained/strangled voice quality; increased tension)
-Tremor (quivering sound)
-Phonation breaks (VF not closing)

Other signs and symptoms:
-Increased vocal effort
-Excessive cough and/or throat clearing
-Short of breath


Laryngomalacia (luh ring oh muh lay she uh)

Structural VD

-Lack of calcium results in weak cartilage above the glottis; the cartilages may collapse under force of respiration
-Tracheomalacia may also be present (weakness in the carts of the trachea; can also collapse)

-Stridor - noisy breathing (due to floppiness of carts falling into airstream)
-Gastroesophageal reflux
-Surgical intervention may be needed to correct airway obstruction


Laryngeal Web

Structural VD:
Webbing of the glottis
- a thin sheet of connective tissue btwn the VF; can be complete or partial
- VF are unable to seperate

Congenital laryngeal atresia – complete web (more severe)

Surgical intervention
Can have mild to severe effect on voice



Structural VD:
Benign, wart-like growths on the epithelium of the vocal folds
-Spread from vocal folds up; subglottic (into the trachea) considered aggressive

Human papilloma virus

Hoarseness, stridor, aphonia, and respiratory distress

Laser removal and therapy

Can occur in both children and adults; more severe in children bc the larynx smaller


Subglottic Stenosis

Structural VD:
Can be congenital or acquired
-Accident or surgical trauma
-Radiation therapy

Narrowing of the larynx below the vocal folds:
-Thickened cartilage and/or tissue
-Varying degrees

Laser therapy to remove excess tissue or cartilage or reconstruction


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Structural VD:
-Inflammation in multiple joints
-Etiology unknown – commonly seen in thirties and forties
-Cricoarytenoid joint can develop RA

Hoarseness, pain in the ear when swallowing (due to nerve innervation), labored breathing, stridor, globus sensation in throat

Joints may become fixed or immobile – airway compromise

Treatment – cool humidification, anti-inflammatories, steroids


Laryngeal Trauma

Structural VD:
Blunt injury to the neck or injury to the larynx
-Damage to cricoarytenoid joint and/or arytenoid cartilages
-Can result in fibrosis (scarring)

Symptoms: hoarseness, dyspnea, and dysphagia

Without fibrosis, can exhibit full recovery


Sulcus Vocalis

Structural VD
Bowing of the vocal folds (spindle shaped gap) caused by the development of a groove
-Usually bilateral
-Cause – unknown

Symptoms: dysphonic


Vocal Fold Paralysis

Neurogenic VD:
Unilateral or bilateral; abduction or adduction
-Pharyngeal nerve damage = hypernasality
-Recurrent laryngeal nerve damage = abduction and adduction affected
-Superior laryngeal nerve damage = problems with pitch

Potential causes:
Progressive diseases
Viral infection
Heart problems* (may be unknown to client)


Spasmodic Dysphonia

Abnormal involuntary movements of one or muscles of the larynx

Action induced and task specific

Vocal fold movement is strained
Voice is strained, jerky, tight, or hoarse

May have periods of aphonia or spasms

Historically thought to be psychogenic
Neurogenic – focal dystonia of the larynx


Adductor SD

Most common; intermittent, tight adduction of the vocal folds

-Strained, forced voicing
-Intermittent aphonia or voice breaks
-Stutter-like phonatory blocks and delayed onset of phonation
-Vocal tremor
-Monoloudness and/or intermittent bursts of loudness


Mixed SD

Because it’s never simple!
Combination of adductor and abductor
Strained vocal quality with breathy breaks
Primarily adductor or abductor