An updated theoretical framework for vocal hyperfunction


R. E. Hillman, C. E. Stepp, J. H. Van Stan, M. Zañartu, and D. D. Mehta, “An updated theoretical framework for vocal hyperfunction,” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 2254–2260, 2020.

Date Published:

Nov 12


Purpose The purpose of this viewpoint article is to facilitate research on vocal hyperfunction (VH). VH is implicated in the most commonly occurring types of voice disorders, but there remains a pressing need to increase our understanding of the etiological and pathophysiological mechanisms associated with VH to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of VH-related disorders. Method A comprehensive theoretical framework for VH is proposed based on an integration of prevailing clinical views and research evidence. Results The fundamental structure of the current framework is based on a previous (simplified) version that was published over 30 years ago (Hillman et al., 1989). A central premise of the framework is that there are two primary manifestations of VH-phonotraumatic VH and nonphonotraumatic VH-and that multiple factors contribute and interact in different ways to cause and maintain these two types of VH. Key hypotheses are presented about the way different factors may contribute to phonotraumatic VH and nonphonotraumatic VH and how the associated disorders may respond to treatment. Conclusions This updated and expanded framework is meant to help guide future research, particularly the design of longitudinal studies, which can lead to a refinement in knowledge about the etiology and pathophysiology of VH-related disorders. Such new knowledge should lead to further refinements in the framework and serve as a basis for improving the prevention and evidence-based clinical management of VH.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 11/01/2021