Isolated and Combined Respiratory Training for Muscle Tension Dysphonia: Preliminary Findings

Soren Y. Lowell, Raymond H. Colton, Richard T. Kelley, Madeline Auld, Hanna Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of altering speech breathing patterns and dysphonia severity through training increased levels of lung volume use during speech. It was hypothesized that respiratory-based training would increase lung volume levels during speech as well as improve acoustic voice measures, and that the addition of laryngeal-based treatment would further improve voice acoustics by treatment completion. Method: A multiple baseline, single subject design was replicated over six participants with primary muscle tension dysphonia as a preliminary investigation of novel respiratory treatment methods. Following four baseline probes (1-4), two phases of treatment were implemented over 6 weeks. Respiratory lung volume-based training (RLVT) and subsequent performance was probed at sessions 5 to 7 and laryngeal-based training was added to the RLVT and probed at sessions 8 to 10. Visual biofeedback was used during RLVT to assist the motor learning process. Respiratory outcome measures of lung volume initiation, termination and excursion were objectively measured using respiratory plethysmography (InductoTrace), and cepstral and spectral-based acoustic measures were also determined at each time point. Results: All participants showed improvement in one or more respiratory measures as well as reduced acoustic dysphonia severity following phase 1 of RLVT alone. Two participants achieved further marked improvement in acoustic voice measures after laryngeal-based training was added in phase 2 of treatment, but this was generally also accompanied by further improvement or stabilization of respiratory measures. Conclusion: Results from this preliminary study support the feasibility of RLVT for improving speech breathing behavior, and suggest that RLVT alone can improve objectively measured dysphonia severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-382
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Acoustic
  • Biofeedback
  • Disorder
  • Laryngeal
  • Lung volume
  • Muscle tension dysphonia
  • Respiratory
  • Treatment
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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