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In this study, the authors aimed to (a) determine whether phonatory airflows and estimated subglottal pressures (est-Psub) for women with primary muscle tension dysphonia/aphonia (MTD/A) differ from those for healthy speakers; (b) identify different aerodynamic profile patterns within the MTD/A subject group; and (c) determine whether results suggest new understanding of pathogenesis in MTD/A. Retrospective review of aerodynamic data collected from 90 women at the time of primary MTD/A diagnosis. Aerodynamic profiles were significantly different for women with MTD/A as compared with healthy speakers. Five distinct profiles were identified: (a) normal flow, normal est-Psub; (b) high flow, high est-Psub; (c) low flow, normal est-Psub; (d) normal flow, high est-Psub; and (e) high flow, normal est-Psub. This study is the first to identify distinct subgroups of aerodynamic profiles in women with MTD/A and to quantitatively identify a clinical phenomenon sometimes described in association with it-"breath holding"-that is shown by low airflow with normal est-Psub. Results were consistent with clinical claims that diverse respiratory and laryngeal functions may underlie phonatory patterns associated with MTD/A. One potential mechanism, based in psychobiological theory, is introduced to explain some of the variability in aerodynamic profiles of women with MTD/A.


Amanda I Gillespie, Jackie Gartner-Schmidt, Elaine N Rubinstein, Katherine Verdolini Abbott. Aerodynamic profiles of women with muscle tension dysphonia/aphonia. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR. 2013 Apr;56(2):481-8

PMID: 22992706

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