Vocal Function Exercises

Posted by | May 2, 2011 | Articles, Voice, Voice Treatment

Vocal Function Exercises

Vocal function exercises are used to strengthen and balance the laryngeal musculature and create a balance among airflow, the laryngeal muscular effort and the tone placement.  Direct physiologic exercises for voice therapy involves the coordination of many aspects of laryngeal muscle activity and respiration as a series of related actions. The exercises may also be used to indirectly address tone focus, onset of vocal fold vibration and laryngeal area tension.

The following exercises should be doe as softly as possible. Describe the problem to the patient and then the patient can be taught a series of four exercises.  The exercises should be taught with a forward tone that lacks tension.  In addition an easy, yet not breathy, onset is encouraged.

1. Sustain the /i/ vowel for as long as possible on the muscial note (F) above middle (C) for females and (F) below middle (C) for males.  The goal will be based on airflow volume such as 100ml/sec of airflow.  So if the volume is equal to 4000 ml, then the goal is 40 seconds.  When airflow measures are not available, then the goal is equal to the longest /s/ that the patient is able to sustain.  Tone should be in an extreme forward focus, amost, but not quite nasal.  All exercises should be produced as softly as possible, but not breathy.

2. Glide from your lowest note to your hightest note on the word “knoll”.  The goal ir for no voice breaks.  The gliding in pitch forces use of all the laryngeal muscles.  It streches the vocal folds and ecnourages a systematic, slow engagement of the cricothyroid muscles. The word “knoll” encourages a forward placement of the tone.  Voice breaks will typically occur in the transitions between low and high tone.  When breaks occur, the patient is encouraged to continue to glide without hesitation.  When the voice breaks at the top of the present range and the patient typically has more range, the glide may be continued without voice as the folds will continue to stretch.  Glides improve muscular control and flexibility.

3. Glide from your highest note to your lowest note on the word “knoll.”  The goal again is for no voice breaks.

4. Sustain the muscial notes (C-D-E-F-G) for as long as ossible on the vowel /O/. (Middle (C) females, octave below middle (C) for males.)  The goal remains the same as for exercise 1.  The exercise can be customized up or down notes to fit the present vocal condition or a particular voice type.

Quality of th tone is monitord for voice breaks, wavering, and breathiness.  The quality should improve as times increase and pathologies begin to resolve.  Macimum phonation times increasee as the efficiency of the vocal fold vibration improves. Times do not increase due to improved ‘lung capacity.”

Progress is monitored over time, with weekly comparisons encouraged.   Patients should perform the exercises two times each, two times per day.

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