Vocal loading

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A test conducted by a Health Science group, Grant-Williams. This is a test on vocal loading- amount of tension on the vocal cords.

Vocal warm-up was studied in terms of changes in voice parameters during a 45-minute vocal session in the morning. The voices of a randomly chosen group of 40 female and 40 male young students were loaded by having them read a novel aloud.

The exposure groups (5 females and 5 males per cell) consisted of eight combinations of the following factors: (1) low (<> 65 ± 5%) relative humidity of ambient air; (2) low [<> 65 dB(SPL)] speech output level during vocal loading; (3) sitting or standing posture during vocal loading.

Two sets of voice samples were recorded: a resting sample before the loading session and a loading sample after the loading session.

The material recorded consisted of /pa:ppa/ words produced normally, as softly and as loudly as possible in this order by all subjects. The long /a/ vowel of the test word was inverse-filtered to obtain the glottal flow waveform.

Time domain parameters of the glottal flow [open quotient (OQ), closing quotient (CQ), speed quotient (SQ), fundamental frequency (F0)], amplitude domain parameters of the glottal flow [glottal flow (fAC) and its logarithm, minimum of the first derivative of the glottal flow (dpeak) and its logarithm, amplitude quotient (AQ), and a new parameter, CQAQ], intraoral pressure (p), and sound pressure level (SPL) values of the phonations were analyzed.

Voice range profiles (VRP) and the singer's formant (g/G, a/A, c1/c, e1/e, g1/g for females/males) of the loud phonation were also measured. Statistically significant differences between the preloading and postloading samples could be seen in many parameters, but the differences depended on gender and the type of phonation.

In females the values of CQ, AQ, and CQAQ decreased and the values of SQ and p increased in normal phonations; the values of fAC, dpeak, and SPL increased in soft phonations; the values of AQ and CQAQ decreased in loud phonations; the harmonic energy in the singer's formant region increased significantly at every pitch.

In males the values of OQ and AQ decreased and the values of dpeak, F0, p, and SPL increased in normal phonations; the values of fAC and p increased in soft phonations. The changes could be interpreted as signs of a shift toward hyperfunctional voice production. Low humidity was associated with more hyperfunctional changes than high humidity. High output was associated with more hyperfunctional changes than low output.

Sitting position was associated with an increasing loading at both margins of male VRP, whereas the case was the opposite for standing position.