Comparison of Supraglottic Activity and Spectral Slope Between Theater Actors and Vocally Untrained Subjects

Marco Guzman*, Andres Ortega, Christian Olavarria, Daniel Muñoz, Pedro Cortés, Maria Josefina Azocar, David Cayuleo, Felipe Quintana, Catalina Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose The present study aimed to assess supraglottic activity in theater actors and to observe whether they present differences compared with subjects with no voice training. Acoustic and perceptual analyses were also performed. Methods A total of 20 participants were divided into two groups: an experimental group of trained theater actors, and a comparative group of subjects with no voice training. Absence of laryngeal pathology was confirmed by rigid videostroboscopy. Flexible laryngoscopy was performed to assess supraglottic activity during speaking phonatory tasks. Voice recording was also carried out. Four blinded judges were asked to assess laryngoscopic and perceptual variables using a visual analog scale. A comparison between groups, phonatory tasks, and loudness levels was performed. Results Multivariate linear regression showed that trained participants had a higher degree of both laryngeal and pharyngeal activities compared with untrained participants. Moreover, phonatory tasks at high intensity showed higher activity than those at medium and low intensities for most phonatory tasks and laryngoscopic parameters. Vocally trained participants evidenced higher values for all spectral variables compared with untrained participants. Conclusion Actors have a greater degree of both laryngeal and pharyngeal activities than vocally untrained subjects. Apparently, this higher activity is associated to speaking voice training and not to a hyperfunctional vocal behavior. Anterior-posterior laryngeal compression is greater than medial compression. Intensity and phonatory tasks have an effect on all laryngoscopic variables. Supraglottic activity during professional speaking voice may be not necessarily a hyperfunctional behavior, but a strategy to avoid vocal fold damage while producing the desired voice quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767.e1-767.e8
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Voice Foundation


  • Actors
  • Laryngeal hyperfunction
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Supraglottic activity
  • Voice training


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