Structure of Breathing and Phonatory Mechanisms

  • Donald F. Proctor


In order to sustain life the adult human must breathe in and out of his lungs about 10,000 liters of air a day. The pump which accomplishes this never has a chance to rest, and during exercise that figure must be increased many fold. The work of breathing accounts for some 2% (at a minimum) of the total energy consumed by the body. In view of these facts it is of interest that there are two circumstances which involve a deliberate increase in the work involved in lung ventilation, one is the choice of nasal breathing over breathing through the mouth, and the other is phonation. The choice of nasal breathing is related to the capacity of the nose to condition inspired air, an important physiological defense of the lungs (see Chap. 4). But we frequently elect to speak or sing purely for pleasure with no direct physiological gain. It is my objective in this monograph to examine the use of breathing for the purposes of phonation and to relate our knowledge of breathing mechanics to the most effective and euphonious production of speech and song.


Thyroid Cartilage Nasal Airway Nasal Passage Superior Laryngeal Nerve Conducting Airway 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald F. Proctor
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Hygiene and Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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