Animal models are used extensively in voice research to study aspects of phonation, including physiology, kinematics, structure, and histology. Animals such as dog, cow, pig, sheep, deer, monkey, ferret, and rabbit have been used in voice research, with pig being one of the most common models. It is thought that the pig larynx is highly similar to the human larynx and one of the best models used in animal translational research. As with any model, however, the pig larynx does have some limitations. Perhaps a limitation most important to the rationale of this investigation is that pigs are difficult animals to study in vivo. Maintenance for a pig is challenging due to its large size and the variability of phonation use in the animal. Therefore, viable and practical alternatives are needed for in vivo voice research. The current study collected preliminary normative data from an alternate animal model, the rabbit, which has been used more recently in studies to model human phonation. The rabbit model was chosen due to its histological similarities to humans, in vivo phonation patterns, size, and practicality. The rabbit represents a more practical model for some longitudinal designs, as well as ex vivo phonatory models with aerodynamic measures as the primary variables. The current study involved a comparison of two aerodynamic measures, specifically phonation threshold pressure (PTP) and phonation threshold flow (PTF) between two groups, pig and rabbit larynges. The purpose of this study was to determine normative aerodynamic values for rabbits and to compare these with normative values for pigs during excised larynx benchtop phonation. Each group consisted of 15 larynges that were finely dissected to reveal the true vocal folds. Each larynx was then connected to a pseudolung and humidified air was passed through it. Fifteen phonation trials were elicited and the results averaged for each larynx. The results indicated that PTP and PTF were significantly different between the two groups, with PTP and PTF being lower for the rabbit group. Additionally, PTP values for rabbits were closer than pigs to the typical human value; however, some methodological challenges to rabbit benchtop models, including size and structural integrity, also exist. But the results from this study indicate that rabbits should be considered a viable option for voice research that would be more feasible with a small animal option that translates well to humans than a large animal option.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





phonation threshold pressure, phonation threshold flow, pig, rabbit, excised larynx, benchtop model