Established procedures for making chest wall kinematic observations (Hoit and Hixon, 1987) and pressure-flow observations (Smitheran and Hixon, 1981) were used to study respiratory and laryngeal function during whispering and speaking in 10 healthy young adults. Results indicate that whispering involves generally lower lung volumes, lower tracheal pressures, higher translaryngeal flows, lower laryngeal airway resistances, and fewer syllables per breath group when compared to speaking. The use of lower lung volumes during whispering than speaking may reflect a means of achieving different tracheal pressure targets. Reductions in the number of syllables produced per breath group may be an adjustment to the high rate of air expenditure accompanying whispering compared to speaking. Performance of the normal subjects studied in this investigation does not resemble that of individuals with speech and voice disorders characterized by low resistive loads.
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