No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Oct 2010

The Impact of Vocal Hyperfunction on Relative Fundamental Frequency During Voicing Offset and Onset


    This study tested the hypothesis that individuals with vocal hyperfunction would show decreases in relative fundamental frequency (RFF) surrounding a voiceless consonant.


    This retrospective study of 2 clinical databases used speech samples from 15 control participants and women with hyperfunction-related voice disorders: 82 prior to treatment (muscle tension dysphonia, n = 22; vocal fold nodules, n = 30; vocal fold polyps, N = 30) and 18 before and after surgical removal of vocal fold nodules or polyps. Acoustic samples were analyzed with respect to the RFF at the offset and onset of voicing surrounding a voiceless consonant.


    Individuals with vocal hyperfunction in a large clinical sample showed significant lowering of offset and onset RFF compared with controls. Voicing offset and onset RFFs were not significantly changed by the removal of vocal fold lesions in the surgical group.


    Altered offset and onset RFF in patients with hyperfunction-related voice disorders can be interpreted as a by-product of heightened levels of laryngeal muscle tension. Measurement of RFF during voice offset and onset has potential for use as a simple, noninvasive measure of vocal hyperfunction.


    • Aronson, A. E. (1980). Clinical voice disorders: An interdisciplinary approach (1st ed.). New York, NY: Thieme-Stratton.
    • Atkinson, J. E. (1976). Inter- and intraspeaker variability in fundamental voice frequency.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 60, 440–446.
    • Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2008). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 5.0.20) [Computer software].Retrieved from
    • Dworkin, J. P., Meleca, R. J., & Abkarian, G. G. (2000). Muscle tension dysphonia.Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, 8, 169–173.
    • Fairbanks, G. (1960). Voice and articulation drillbook (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Harper and Row.
    • Fukui, N., & Hirose, H. (1983). Laryngeal adjustments in Danish voiceless obstruent production.Annual Bulletin of the Research Institute of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, 17, 61–71.
    • Gallena, S., Smith, P. J., Zeffiro, T., & Ludlow, C. L. (2001). Effects of levodopa on laryngeal muscle activity for voice onset and offset in Parkinson disease.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 1284–1299.
    • Goberman, A. M., & Blomgren, M. (2008). Fundamental frequency change during offset and onset of voicing in individuals with Parkinson disease.Journal of Voice, 22, 178–191.
    • Hillman, R. E., Holmberg, E. B., Perkell, J. S., Walsh, M., & Vaughan, C. (1989). Objective assessment of vocal hyperfunction: An experimental framework and initial results.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 32, 373–392.
    • House, A. S., & Fairbanks, G. (1953). The influence of consonant environment upon the secondary acoustical characteristics of vowels.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 25, 105–113.
    • Koufman, J. A., & Blalock, P. D. (1991). Functional voice disorders.Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America, 24, 1059–1073.
    • Löfqvist, A. (1995). Laryngeal mechanisms and interarticulator timing in voiceless consonant production.In F. Bell-Berti, & L. Raphael (Eds.), Producing speech: Contemporary issues. For Katherine Safford Harris (pp. 99–116). New York, NY: AIP Press.
    • Löfqvist, A., Baer, T., McGarr, N. S., & Story, R. S. (1989). The cricothyroid muscle in voicing control.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 85, 1314–1321.
    • Ludlow, C. L., Sedory, S. E., & Fujita, M. (1991). Neurophysiological control of vocal fold adduction and abduction for phonation onset and offset during speech.In J. Gauffin, & B. Hammarberg (Eds.), Vocal fold phsyiology: Acoustic, perceptual, and physiological aspects of voice mechanisms (pp. 197–205). San Diego, CA: Singular.
    • Morrison, M. D., Rammage, L. A., Belisle, G. M., Pullan, C. B., & Nichol, H. (1983). Muscular tension dysphonia.Journal of Otolaryngology, 12, 302–306.
    • Ohde, R. N. (1984). Fundamental frequency as an acoustic correlate of stop consonant voicing.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 75, 224–230.
    • Robb, M. P., & Smith, A. B. (2002). Fundamental frequency onset and offset behavior: A comparative study of children and adults.Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45, 446–456.
    • Roubeau, B., Chevrie-Muller, C., & Lacau Saint Guily, J. (1997). Electromyographic activity of strap and cricothyroid muscles in pitch change.Acta Otolaryngologica, 117, 459–464.
    • Roy, N., Ford, C. N., & Bless, D. M. (1996). Muscle tension dysphonia and spasmodic dysphonia: The role of manual laryngeal tension reduction in diagnosis and management.Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology, 105, 851–856.
    • Solomon, N. P., & Hixon, T. J. (1993). Speech breathing in Parkinson’s disease.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 294–310.
    • Stevens, K. N. (1977). Physics of laryngeal behavior and larynx modes.Phonetica, 34, 264–279.
    • Su, W. F., Hsiao, Y. C., & Hung, C. C. (2007). Features of muscle tension dysphonia before and after correction of unilateral vocal cord paralysis.Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology, 116, 123–127.
    • Titze, I. R. (1989). On the relation between subglottal pressure and fundamental frequency in phonation.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 85, 901–906.
    • Van Den Berg, J. (1958). Myoelastic-aerodynamic theory of voice production.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 1, 227–244.
    • Watson, B. C. (1998). Fundamental frequency during phonetically governed devoicing in normal young and aged speakers.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 103, 3642–3647.

    Additional Resources