Quantification of static and dynamic supraglottic activity

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research








Normal laryngeal function; Supraglotlic activity; Videoendoscopy; Vocal nodules


For estimating supraglottic compression in disordered voice production, categorical rating scales of true vocal fold coverage by supraglottic structures are the current standard. Quantification of change in the position of supraglottic structures compared to no supraglottic activity would be a better method for distinguishing between and within voice-disordered groups. This study developed a method for quantifying static supraglottic activity and extent of false vocal fold (FVF) motion during dynamic supraglottic activity. Twelve control participants and 12 individuals with voice disorders (6 with complaints of vocal fatigue and 6 with vocal fold nodules) were enrolled in the study. These individuals participated in a transnasal fiberoptic laryngeal examination in which various speech tasks were recorded. Single-Frame images were selected to represent the positions of minimum and maximum supraglottic compression for each speech task. Two individuals rated these single-frame images using a categorical rating scale. Two other individuals measured the anterior-to-posterior (A-P) distance, vocal fold length, and vocal fold area. A-P and FVF compression were derived from these three measures. Reliability was demonstrated between judges for the ratings and between and within judges for the measures. Significant differences in normalized static supraglottic compression measures corresponded to the rating scale categories. Significant differences in normalized dynamic supraglottic compression measures corresponded to the differences in category ratings between minimum and maximum compression. Using the normalized measures, the voice-disordered groups demonstrated significantly greater static A-P compression (t test, p < .03) than did the control participants. These results suggest that static supraglottic activity may be diagnostic of voice disorder. Normalized dynamic FVF compression ratios were not significantly different between groups. This supports a previous hypothesis that dynamic supraglottic activity serves as an articulatory function at the level of the larynx and is part of the linguistic/phonemic system, rather than evidence of disordered laryngeal function.

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