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19/09/2018 Voice Anatomy & Physiology

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Understanding How Voice is Produced |  Learning About
Your cart is empty the Voice Mechanism |  How Breakdowns Result in Voice
Disorders

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Key Glossary Terms 
Larynx 
Highly specialized structure atop the
windpipe responsible for sound production, air passage
during breathing and protecting the airway during
swallowing

Vocal Folds (also called Vocal Cords) 
“Fold-like” soft tissue that is the main vibratory
component of the voice box; comprised of a cover
(epithelium and superficial lamina propria), vocal
ligament (intermediate and deep laminae propria), and
body (thyroarytenoid muscle)

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Glottis (also called Rima Glottides) 
Opening between the two vocal folds; the glottis opens
during breathing and closes during swallowing and
sound production

Glossary
Understanding Voice DisordersKnowing how normal
voice is produced and the roles the voice box and its
parts play in speaking and singing helps patients
understand their voice disorders

Voice “As We Know It”

The “spoken word” results from three components of
voice production: voiced sound, resonance, and
articulation.

Voiced sound: The basic sound produced by vocal
fold vibration is called “voiced sound.” This is
frequently described as a “buzzy” sound. Voiced
sound for singing differs significantly from voiced
sound for speech.
Resonance: Voice sound is amplified and modified
by the vocal tract resonators (the throat, mouth
cavity, and nasal passages). The resonators
produce a person’s recognizable voice.
Articulation: The vocal tract articulators (the
tongue, soft palate, and lips) modify the voiced
sound. The articulators produce recognizable
words.

Voice Mechanism
Speaking and singing involve a voice mechanism that is
composed of three subsystems. Each subsystem is
composed of different parts of the body and has specific
roles in voice production.

Three Voice Subsystems
Subsystem Voice Organs Role in Sound Production

Air Diaphragm, Provides and regulates air


pressure chest pressure to cause vocal folds

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system muscles, ribs, to vibrate


abdominal
musclesLungs

Vibratory Voice box Vocal folds vibrate, changing


system (larynx)Vocal air pressure to sound waves
folds producing “voiced sound,”
frequently described as a
“buzzy sound”Varies pitch of
sound

Resonating Vocal tract: Changes the “buzzy sound”


system throat into a person’s recognizable
(pharynx), voice
oral cavity,
nasal
passages

Key Function of the Voice Box 
The key function of the voice box is to open and close the
glottis (the space between the two vocal folds).

Role in breathing: Open glottis
Role in cough reflex: Close, then open glottis
Role in swallowing: Close glottis
Role in voice: Close glottis and adjust vocal fold
tension (plus additional functions for singing)

Key Components of the Voice Box
Cartilages

Muscles
Nerves
Vocal folds

Abnormalities or Changes in the Vibratory System Result
in Voice Disorders

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Breakdowns can occur in any one or all three subsystems
of voice production. This patient education series
focuses on voice disorders, specifically breakdowns in
the vibratory system.

Understanding How Voice Is Produced  Next Page

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