Vocal fold hydration is important for efficient oscillation during voice production. Dehydration of the vocal fold surface is believed to produce adverse effects on the voice. Specifically, low environmental humidity, mouth breathing, and certain medical conditions may contribute to laryngeal and vocal fold dehydration. This dehydration effect may be quantified using the observed pressure and flow at the onset of phonation, operationally defined as phonation threshold pressure (PTP) and phonation threshold flow (PTF), respectively. Previous research has documented that nebulized isotonic saline (0.9% Na+Cl-) can reduce PTP. Additionally, the topical application of liquid saline increases vocal fold hydration in excised larynx studies. However, no studies have examined the prevention of vocal fold dehydration using aerosolized saline in an excised larynx mechanical model. The purpose of the current investigation was to determine the preventive effects of aerosolized isotonic saline in a physiologically realistic excised larynx model. Using a prospective, mixed experimental design with a control group, five bench-mounted, excised porcine larynges received 4-min doses of aerosolized saline delivered supraglottally for a total of 24 min. Subsequently, larynges received 1-min doses of desiccated air (<1% relative humidity) delivered supraglottally. A control group of five porcine larynges received only desiccated air. Phonation was attempted following each dose of aerosolized saline or desiccated air. The desiccation doses were repeated for both groups until the larynges were no longer able to phonate. The PTP and PTF were measured at baseline and following each dose of aerosolized saline or desiccated air. Analysis of the results indicated that aerosolized saline significantly delayed the adverse effects of vocal fold dehydration based on the total number of desiccation doses required to cease phonation for experimental versus control groups (p = .002). Trends demonstrated that PTP decreased after aerosolized saline and increased during desiccation trials. The PTF trends were similar during desiccation. The results from this study indicate that aerosolized saline may be used prophylactically to prevent vocal fold dehydration. These findings offer important advances in vocal fold hydration theory and dehydration prevention in a physiologically realistic excised mechanical model.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





aerosolized saline, larynx, vocal fold hydration, bench model, phonation threshold pressure, phonation threshold flow