Differences in weeklong ambulatory vocal behavior between female patients with phonotraumatic lesions and matched controls


J. H. Van Stan, et al., “Differences in weeklong ambulatory vocal behavior between female patients with phonotraumatic lesions and matched controls,” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 372-384, 2020.



Previous work using ambulatory voice recordings has shown no differences in average vocal behavior between patients with phonotraumatic vocal hyperfunction and matched controls. This study used larger groups to replicate these results and expanded the analysis to include distributional characteristics of ambulatory voice use and measures indicative of glottal closure.


Subjects included 180 adult women: 90 diagnosed with vocal fold nodules or polyps and 90 age-, sex-, and occupation-matched controls with no history of voice disorders. Weeklong summary statistics (average, variability, skewness, kurtosis) of voice use were computed from neck-surface acceleration recorded using an ambulatory voice monitor. Voice measures included estimates of sound pressure level (SPL), fundamental frequency (fo), cepstral peak prominence, and the difference between the first and second harmonic magnitudes (H1–H2).


Statistical comparisons resulted in medium–large differences (Cohen's d ≥ 0.5) between groups for SPL skewness, fo variability, and H1–H2 variability. Two logistic regressions (theory-based and stepwise) found SPL skewness and H1–H2 variability to classify patients and controls based on their weekly voice data, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.85 and 0.82 on training and test sets, respectively.


Compared to controls, the weekly voice use of patients with phonotraumatic vocal hyperfunction reflected higher SPL tendencies (negatively skewed SPL) with more abrupt glottal closure (reduced H1–H2 variability, especially toward higher values). Further work could examine posttreatment data (e.g., after surgery and/or therapy) to determine the extent to which these differences are associated with the etiology and pathophysiology of phonotraumatic vocal fold lesions.

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Last updated on 03/31/2020