The purposes of the proposed study are: a) to determine whether Flow Phonation can decrease Laryngeal Resistance (Rlaw)1 in patients with Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD); and b) establish the relationship between changes in measures of Rlaw and phonatory airflow to endoscopic, perceptual, acoustic, and handicap assessment ratings. MTD can have a debilitating effect on individuals who rely on their voices the most-teachers, preachers, salespeople, singers-costing them time, money, and even their jobs.2 It can lead to vocal fatigue, pain, and complete loss of voice. While treatments have emerged with some promising effects, no treatments have proven to have long-term benefits to all patients. Our preliminary data3 demonstrate Flow Phonation4 training resulted in significant decreases in Laryngeal Resistance to phonatory airflow with associated improvements in voice quality and voice handicap ratings. Sample size for our pilot study was small; no control group was utilized; and outcome measures were limited. In the proposed investigation, a larger sample will be obtained, a control group of participants receiving only Vocal Hygiene Training will be used for comparison during the first 3 weeks, and a wider range of outcome measures will be included over a longer period of time (1 year). This proposal is novel in that it provides the first perceptual, acoustic, endoscopic, voice handicap, and airflow data on Flow Phonation. The proposal is significant in that it will provide randomized, controlled clinical trial data for treatment which could help millions of Americans who suffer MTD annually, impacting their emotional and financial well-being.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study seeks to provide controlled randomized clinical trial data on a relatively untested treatment; Flow Phonation; for improving muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) and determine whether Laryngeal Resistance is a valuable marker for initial severity and as a measure of treatment success. MTD can lead to vocal fatigue; pain; and complete loss of voice and have a debilitating effect on individuals who rely on their voices the most. I am aware of the training requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). All investigators (faculty; staff; and students) will complete the plan set forth by the Sponsored Programs office at UCA. The plan will consist of a combination of online training and workshops customized to the area of research. The RCR training will include the eight topics as described by the Office of Research Integrity. Completionof training for all investigators will be verified by the Sponsored Programs office.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)
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Motor Function, Speech and Rehabilitation Study Section (MFSR)
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Shekim, Lana O
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Appalachian State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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