Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ruth Huntley Bahr, Ph.D.


Inductive plethysmography, Respiration, Laryngeal disorders, Voice disorders, Respitrace


Adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) is a focal dystonia that is characterized by voice breaks due to involuntary contractions of the adductor muscles of the vocal folds. These spasms can interfere with the coordination and balance of the respiratory and phonatory systems interfering with normal voice production. Disruptions in normal respiratory behaviors are well documented in inviduals with laryngeal disorders, including ADSD. Previous research regarding respiratory processes in ADSD has focused on airflow and pressure; however, there are many other parameters that have not been considered and may shed new light on the respiratory behaviors of individuals with ADSD. Therefore, the current pilot study attempted to determine if individuals with ADSD differed from controls in various breathing parameters while engaged in conversational and reading tasks.Thirty individuals were tested; fifteen in the ADSD group and fifteen in the age- and gender-matched control group.

Respitrace, an inductive plethysmography device, calculated 14 different respiratory measures related to volume, timing, thoracic displacement and respiratory efficiency. The results of the study indicated that various significant differences existed between groups. Those with ADSD were found to have statistically higher ventilation rates, a greater frequency of breaths per minute, a higher degree of muscular inefficiency/breathlessness and labored breathing. These results indicated that individuals with ADSD suffered from disordered breathing due to the neurologically related obstruction at the level of the larynx. Differences according to task were also found. Specifically, the rib cage contributed to a lesser extent in voice production and the participants utilized longer inspiratory times, exhaled a larger volume of air and took longer to reach peak expiratory flow during conversational tasks when compared to reading tasks.

These differences were attributed to a higher cognitive-linguistic demand required during conversational speech. Overall, the results of this study have many clinical implications. Most importantly, these findings support the idea that individuals with ADSD may experience difficulties with respiration as the effects of their Botox injection begin to wear off. Further research is needed with regards to the effects laryngeal spasms have on other respiratory behaviors.