Objectives Airflow measurement is a useful method of evaluating laryngeal physiology. We introduce a noninvasive device that measures airflow without restricting jaw movement or requiring phonation into a mouthpiece, thus facilitating measurement during singing and connected speech. Study design Validation and human subject trials were conducted. Airflow measurements were obtained from 16 male and 16 female subjects during singing, speech, and constant vowel production tasks. Methods A similar helmet was designed by Stevens and Mead in 1968. The new device validity was evaluated by comparing the measured volume of air to a known volume of administered air using a calibration syringe. Subjects were asked to voice sustained vowels at low, medium, and high vocal intensity, read two sentences at a conversational volume, and perform different singing exercises while airflow was recorded. Results The device accurately and reliably measured airflow with mean airflow values falling within previously published ranges. There was an experimentally determined response time of 0.173 ± 0.014 seconds. Subjects were able to comfortably perform speech and singing exercises. Male subjects had higher airflow for all sustained vowels (P < 0.05). Airflow was higher for abduction rather than adduction sentences (P < 0.05). Conclusions No other portable device has been shown to measure airflow during singing and speech while allowing for free movement of the jaw. This device provides a more natural environment to measure airflow that could be used to help evaluate laryngeal function and aid in singing training.
- Airflow measurement
- Connected speech