Breathing and Vocal Dysfunction

  • Daphne J. Pearce


Speech is the culmination of two essential human functions: breathing and communication. Every aspect of speech can be scientifically analyzed in neurological and physiological terms, but as a function, the essence is the interaction of the processes involved. The complexity of this interaction is exemplified in phonation, or voice, the medium of human utterance and expression (Fig. 1). The physical apparatus, the larynx (Fig. 2), is one unit of the mechanism that includes breathing and the supralaryngeal structures (i.e., the structures above the larynx: the oropharynx and nasopharynx, the oral and nasal cavities). The larynx can be affected by external factors, such as dust and fumes, and by the most powerful internal force—emotion. From the infant’s screams, to the quavering of senescence, the voice reflects feelings and well being; it betrays fears and doubts, and proclaims intentions. Professionals working with voice problems must consider all the factors in relation to one another; a disturbance in one area will upset the balance necessary to maintain healthy phonation appropriate to the speaker and acceptable to the audience.


Vocal Fold Breathing Pattern Voice Disorder Voice Problem Voice Production 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daphne J. Pearce
    • 1
  1. 1.Speech Therapy DepartmentSt. Bartholomew’s HospitalLondonEngland

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