The relationship between physiological mechanisms and the self-perception of vocal effort

Victoria S. McKenna, Manuel E. Diaz-Cadiz, Adrianna C. Shembel, Nicole M. Enos, Cara E. Stepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aimed to examine the relationship between a large set of hypothesized physiological measures of vocal effort and self-ratings of vocal effort. Method: Twenty-six healthy adults modulated speech rate and vocal effort during repetitions of the utterance /ifi/, followed by self-perceptual ratings of vocal effort on a visual analog scale. Physiological measures included (a) intrinsic laryngeal tension via kinematic stiffness ratios determined from high-speed laryngoscopy, (b) extrinsic suprahyoid and infrahyoid laryngeal tension via normalized percent activations and durations derived from surface electromyography, (c) supraglottal compression via expert visual-perceptual ratings, and (d) subglottal pressure via magnitude of neck surface vibrations from an accelerometer signal. Results: Individual statistical models revealed that all of the physiological predictors, except for kinematic stiffness ratios, were significantly predictive of self-ratings of vocal effort. However, a combined regression model analysis yielded only 3 significant predictors: subglottal pressure, mediolateral supraglottal compression, and the normalized percent activation of the suprahyoid muscles (adjusted R2 =.60). Conclusions: Vocal effort manifests as increases in specific laryngeal physiological measures. Further work is needed to examine these measures in combination with other contributing factors, as well as in speakers with dysphonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-834
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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