Vocal efficiency is a measure of the efficiency of the energy conversion process from aerodynamic power to acoustic power. Few studies have been conducted to measure vocal efficiency in trained singers to determine whether "vocal athletes" are more efficient than non-singers. Data were collected from 20 trained singers (10 male and 10 female) and 20 non-singers (10 male and 10 female) to determine if there were any significant differences between the two groups. During the recording, each participant produced a series of syllables at combinations of three different levels of pitch and loudness. The acoustic and aerodynamic data were analyzed to reveal any statistically significant differences in vocal efficiency between singers and non-singers. The singers were significantly more efficient than non-singers in only two of the nine conditions. Singers had significantly higher subglottic pressure and resistance values. More differences were found between men and women, in that males produced greater flow, but females consistently produced higher sound pressure level values. Acoustic analyses were also performed and this revealed that singers had significantly greater fundamental frequency variability during speech, as reflected in a higher semitone standard deviation for a reading passage. It was also found that males had higher maximum phonation times and a greater long-term average spectrum standard deviation. Vocal beauty ratings were significantly higher for singers than non-singers.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





vocal efficiency, singers