Hot off the press: JP's paper on real-world subglottal pressure monitoring

November 1, 2022

We are very excited that our paper is out on the culmination of a multi-year effort on subglottal pressure estimation in patients with voice disorders, with this voice parameter measured in real-world, daily life situations for the first time. This was a true team effort with engineering and clinical collaborators coming together to address the topic of improving clinical voice assessment. Congrats to JP for seeing this through the finish line taking the handoff from Jon and Katie's foundational data collection and analysis efforts. Matías, Víctor, and Emiro rounded out the Chilean all-star team to provided key support on computational modeling of phonation.

The article is Open Access: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/12/21/10692. Special thanks to Sten Ternström for inviting us to submit this work as part of a Special Issue of Applied Sciences on "Current Trends and Future Directions in Voice Acoustics Measurement."

 

Abstract

The aerodynamic voice assessment of subglottal air pressure can discriminate between speakers with typical voices from patients with voice disorders, with further evidence validating subglottal pressure as a clinical outcome measure. Although estimating subglottal pressure during phonation is an important component of a standard voice assessment, current methods for estimating subglottal pressure rely on non-natural speech tasks in a clinical or laboratory setting. This study reports on the validation of a method for subglottal pressure estimation in individuals with and without voice disorders that can be translated to connected speech to enable the monitoring of vocal function and behavior in real-world settings. During a laboratory calibration session, a participant-specific multiple regression model was derived to estimate subglottal pressure from a neck-surface vibration signal that can be recorded during natural speech production. The model was derived for vocally typical individuals and patients diagnosed with phonotraumatic vocal fold lesions, primary muscle tension dysphonia, and unilateral vocal fold paralysis. Estimates of subglottal pressure using the developed method exhibited significantly lower error than alternative methods in the literature, with average errors ranging from 1.13 to 2.08 cm H2O for the participant groups. The model was then applied during activities of daily living, thus yielding ambulatory estimates of subglottal pressure for the first time in these populations. Results point to the feasibility and potential of real-time monitoring of subglottal pressure during an individual’s daily life for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of voice disorders.