No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Apr 1996

Activity of Intrinsic Laryngeal Muscles in Fluent and Disfluent Speech

    The goal of the present experiment was to determine if stuttering is associated with unusually high levels of activity in laryngeal muscles. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of thyroarytenoid and cricothyroid recordings from 4 stuttering and 3 nonstuttering adults revealed the following: Compared to periods of fluent speech, intervals of disfluent speech are not typically characterized by higher levels of activity in these muscles; and when EMG levels during conversational speech are compared to maximal activation levels for these muscles (e.g., those observed during singing and the Valsalva maneuver), normally fluent adults show robust and sometimes near maximal recruitment during conversational speech. The adults who stutter had a lower operating range for these muscles during conversational speech, and their disfluencies did not produce relatively high activation levels. In summary, the present data require us to reject the claim that adults with a history of chronic stuttering routinely produce excessive levels of intrinsic laryngeal muscle activity. These results suggest that the use of botulinum toxin injections into the vocal folds to treat stuttering should be questioned.

    References

    • Armson, J. (1991). Study of laryngeal muscle activity during stuttering episodes: Searching for an invariant physiological correlate. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
    • Bloodstein, O. (1987). A handbook on stuttering. Chicago: National Easter Seal Society.
    • Brin, M.F., Stewart, C, Blitzer, A., & Diamond, B. (1994). Laryngeal botulinum toxin injections for disabling stuttering in adults.Neurology, 44, 2262–2266.
    • Caruso, A. J., Cracco, V. L., & Abbs, J. H. (1987). A speech motor control perspective on stuttering: Preliminary observation.In H.F.M. Peters & W. Hulstijn (Eds.), Speech motor dynamics in stuttering (pp. 245–258). Wien: Springer Verlag.
    • Chanaud, C, & Ludlow, C. (1992). Single motor unit activity of human intrinsic laryngeal muscles during respiration.Annals of Otology, Rhinotogy & Laryngology, 101, 832–840.
    • Conture, E. G. (1990). Stuttering. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
    • Conture, E. G., McCall, G. N., & Brewer, D. (1977). Laryngeal behavior during stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 20, 661–668.
    • Denny, M., & Smith, A. (1992). Gradations in a pattern of neuromuscular activity associated with stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 1216–1229.
    • Folkins, J. W., Linville, R. N., Garrett, J. D., & Brown, C. K. (1988). Interactions in the labial musculature during speech.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 31, 253–264.
    • Freeman, F. J. (1984). Laryngeal muscle activity of stutterers.In R.F. Curlee & W.H. Perkins (Eds.), Nature and treatment of stuttering: New directions (pp. 104–116). Boston: College-Hill Press, Inc.
    • Freeman, F. J., & Ushijima, T. (1978). Laryngeal muscle activity during stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 21, 538–562.
    • Hirano, M. (1981). Clinical examination of voice.In G.E. ArnoldF. Winckel & B.D. Wyke (Eds.), Disorders of human communication, 5 [Monograph]. New York: Springer-verlag Wien.
    • Hirano, M., & Kakita, Y. (1985). Cover-body theory of vocal fold vibration.In R.G. Daniloff (Ed.), Speech science: Recent advances (pp. 1–46). San Diego: College Hill.
    • Kelly, E. M., Smith, A., & Goffman, L. (1995). Orofacial activity of children who stutter: A preliminary study.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 1025–1036.
    • Ludlow, C. L. (1990). Treatment of speech and voice disorders with botulinum toxin.The Journal of the American Medical Association, 264, 2671–2675.
    • Ludlow, C. L., Yeh, J., Cohen, L. G., Van Pelt, F., Rhew, K., & Hallett, M. (1994). Limitations in electromyography and magnetic stimulation for assessing laryngeal muscle control.Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 103, 16–27.
    • McClean, M., Goldsmith, H., & Cerf, A. (1984). Lowerlip EMG and displacement during bilabial disfluencies in adult stutterers.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27, 342–349.
    • McCloskey, D. I., Gandevia, S. C, Potter, E. K., & Colebatch, J. G. (1983). Muscle sense and effort: motor commands and judgements about muscular contractions.In J.E. Desmedt (Ed.), Motor control mechanisms in health and disease (pp. 151–170). New York: Raven Press.
    • Moore, C. A., Smith, A., & Ringel, R. L. (1988). Task-specific organization of activity in human jaw muscles.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 31, 670–680.
    • Nobbe, G. (1993). The positive effects of poison.Omni, 16, 38.
    • Riley, G. (1984). Stuttering Severity Instrument for Children and Adults. Portland, OR: C. C. Publications.
    • Shapiro, A. I. (1980). An electromyographic analysis of the fluent and dysfluent utterances of several types of stutterers.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 5, 203–232.
    • Smith, A. (1989) Neural drive to muscles in stuttering.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 32, 252–264.
    • Smith, A. (1990). Toward a comprehensive theory of stuttering: A commentary.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 55, 398–401.
    • Smith, A. (in press). Muscle activity in stuttering. Proceedings of the First World Congress on Fluency Disorders.
    • Smith, A., Denny, M., & Wood, J. (1991). Instability in speech muscle systems in stuttering.In H.F.M. PetersW. Hulstijn & W. Starkweather (Eds.), Speech motor control and stuttering (pp. 231–242). New York: Elsevier.
    • Smith, A., & Kelly, E. M. (1996). Stuttering: Adynamic, multifactorial model.In R. Curlee & G. Siegel (Eds.), Nature & treatment of stuttering: New directions. Manuscript in preparation.
    • Smith, A., Luschei, E., Denny, M., Wood, J., Hirano, M., & Badylak, S. (1993). Spectral analysis of activity of laryngeal and orofacial muscles in stutterers.Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 56, 1303–1311.
    • Stager, S. V., & Ludlow, C. (1994). Responses of stutterers and vocal tremor patients to treatment with botulinum toxin.In J. Jankovic & M. Hallett (Eds.), Therapy with botulinum toxin (pp. 481–490). New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
    • Starkweather, C. W. (1995). A simple theory of stuttering.Journal of Fluency Disorders, 20, 91–116.
    • Titze, I. R., Luschei, E. S., & Hirano, M. (1989). Role of the thyroarytenoid muscle in regulation of fundamental frequency.Journal of Voice, 3, 213–224.
    • van Lieshout, P. H. H. M., Peters, H. F. M., Starkweather, C. W., & Hulstijn, W. (1993). Physiological differences between stutterers and nonstutterers in perceptually fluent speech: EMG amplitude and duration.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 55–63.

    Additional Resources