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Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 0873-2159


MENDES, Ana; ALVES-PEREIRA, Mariana  and  CASTELO BRANCO, Nuno A A. Voice acoustic patterns of patients diagnosed with vibroacoustic disease. Rev Port Pneumol [online]. 2006, vol.12, n.4, pp.375-382. ISSN 0873-2159.

Background: Long-term low frequency noise exposure (LFN) (¡Ü 500 Hz, including infrasound) may lead to the development of vibroacoustic disease (VAD), a systemic pathology characterized by the abnormal growth of extra-cellular matrices. The respiratory system is a target for LFN. Fibrosis of the respiratory tract epithelia was observed in VAD patients through biopsy, and confirmed in animal models exposed to LFN. Voice acoustic analysis can detect vocal fold variations of mass, tension, muscular and neural activity. Frequency perturbation (jitter), amplitude perturbation (shimmer) and harmonictonoise ratio (HNR) are used in the evaluation of the vocal function, and can be indicators of the presence and degree of severity of vocal pathology. Since the respiratory system is the energy source of the phonation process, this raises questions about the effects of VAD on voice production. The purpose of this study was to determine if voice acoustic parameters of VAD patients are different from normative data. Methods: Nine individuals (5 males and 4 females) diagnosed with VAD were recorded performing spoken and sung tasks. The spoken tasks included sustaining vowels and fricatives. The sung tasks consisted of maximum phonational frequency range (MPFR). Voice acoustic parameters analysed were: fundamental frequency (F0), jitter, shimmer, HNR and temporal measures. Results: Compared with normative data, both males and females diagnosed with VAD exhibited increased F0, shimmer and HNR. Jitter, MPFR and one temporal measure were reduced. Conclusions: VAD individuals presented voice acoustic parameter differences in spectral, temporal and perturbation measures, which may be indicative of small morphological changes in the phonatory system.

Keywords : Low frequency noise; infrasound; shimmer; jitter; voice acoustics; vocal folds.

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