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Voice function and voice disorders in adults

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Voice disorders


Project group leader

Maria Södersten

The area includes research on the voice in patients with different types of voice disorders such as functional, organic, neurological, and hormonal. Several projects deal with the development of methods to better document and quantify various aspects of voice function, others on the development of treatment methods. Methods for assessing voice function include audio perceptual, acoustic, and aerodynamic analysis of sound recordings made in a standardized recording environment, as well as analyzes of long-term measurements of voice use from everyday situations. Development of questionnaires and patient-reported measures adopted to different patient populations are ongoing. The methods are necessary to be able to evaluate different treatment interventions such as voice therapy, surgery on the vocal folds, and hormone therapy.

Project group members

Name Title Function
Maria Södersten Assoc. Prof., SLP Project group leader
Svante Granqvist PhD., engineer Researcher, supervisor
Ellika Schalling Assoc. Prof., SLP Supervisor
Ulrika Nygren PhD., SLP Researcher
Joakim Körner Gustafsson SLP Doctoral student
Victoria Kelly SLP Clin. proj co-worker
Anita McAllister Assoc. Prof., SLP Researcher

In collaboration with

At the Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology, Karolinska University Hospital

Name Title Funtion
Stellan Hertegård Adj. Professor, MD Researcher

At Royal Institute of Technology

Name Title Function
Sten Ternström Professor, engineer Supervisor
Annika Szabo Portela PhD, SLP Researcher
Peter Pabon Engineer Doctoral student

At Åbo Academy

Name Title Function
Sofia Holmqvist Jämsén MD, PhD, SLP Researcher

Research projects

  • Vocal behavior in daily life: Risk factors to vocal health related to the individual speaker and to background noise.
  • Survey of voice use in everyday situations using a portable recording system for persons in different age groups, with different occupations, and for patient groups with voice disorders.
  • Voice disorder and effects of treatment in Parkinson’s disease as studied using a voice ackumulator.
  • Effects of testosterone on the voice in women exposed to doping, and in transmen who receive testosterone as a gender confirming treatment.
  • Investigation of function and physical properties of tubes used in tube phonation, and their effects on voice production
  • Development of the software Visor for perceptual rating of sound stimuli, for example with respect to voice quality
  • Results after voice therapy and pitch-raising surgery in transwomen – a follow up study.
  • Development of questionnaires and patient reported outcome measures about voice function used for evaluating voice therapy, vocal fold surgery and hormone treatment as well as questionnaires about the voice and a person’s gender identity.
  • Results after vocal fold surgery of vocal fold nodules, of pre- and postoperative voice therapy and voice rest based on information from a national quality register.
  • Speech breathing and voice function following lower cervical spinal cord injury: implications for intervention and effects of treatment

Selected publications

  • Amarante Andrade P, Wistbacka G, Larsson H, Södersten M, Hammarberg B, Simberg S, Švec JG, Granqvist S. The flow and pressure relationships in different tubes commonly used for semi-occluded vocal tract exercises. Journal of Voice, 2015, 11. pii: S0892-1997(15)00015-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.02.004.
  • Granqvist S, Simberg S, Hertegård S, Holmqvist S, Larsson H, Lindestad P-Å, Södersten M, Hammarberg B. Resonance tube phonation in water: High-speed imaging, electroglottographic and oral pressure observations of vocal fold vibrations - a pilot study. Logoped Phoniatr Vocol, 2015 Oct;40(3):113-21. doi: 10.3109/14015439.2014.913682. Epub 2014 May 28.
  • Gustafsson J, Ternström S, Södersten M, Schalling E. Motor-learning-based adjustment of ambulatory feedback on vocal loudness for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. J Voice, 2015 Jul 10. pii: S0892-1997(15)00120-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.06.003. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Johansson K, Strömbergsson S, Robieux C, McAllister A. Perceptual detection of subtle dysphonic traits in individuals with cervical spinal cord injury using an audience response systems approach. Journal of Voice, 2016 (in press). DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.12.015.
  • Nygren U, Isberg B, Arver S, Hertegård S, Södersten M, Nordenskjöld A. Magnetic resonance imaging of the vocal folds in women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia and virilized voices. Accepted for publication Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
  • Nygren U, Nordenskjöld A, Arver S, Södersten M. Effects on voice fundamental frequency in trans men during testosterone treatment - a longitudinal study. Journal of Voice. 2015 Dec 8. pii: S0892-1997(15)00234-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.10.016. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Schalling E, Gustafsson J, Ternström S, Södersten M. Effects of tactile biofeedback by a portable voice accumulator on voice sound level in speakers with Parkinson disease. J Voice, 2013;27(6):729-737.
  • Szabo Portela A, Hammarberg B, Södersten M. Speaking fundamental frequency and phonation time in vocally healthy preschool teachers measured with a voice accumulator. Folia Phoniatr et Logop. 2013;65:84–90.
  • Södersten M, Nygren U, Hertegård S, Dhejne C. Interdisciplinary program in Sweden related to transgender voice. Perspectives on voice and voice disorders. 2015 Vol 25 (2): 87-97. doi:10.1044/vvd25.2.87
  • Södersten M, Salomão G L, Ternström S, McAllister A. Voice use in patients with voice disorders and vocally healthy speakers based on two days voice accumulator information from a database Journal of Voice. 2015 Sep;29(5):646.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.09.006. Epub 2015 Jun 11.
  • Ternström, S., Pabon, P., Södersten, M. The Voice Range Profile: its function, applications, pitfalls and potential. Acta Acustica united with Acustica, [accepted 2015-08-10]. DOI 10.3813/AAA.918943