LARYNGEAL SENSITIVITY IN PEOPLE WITH VOICE AND UPPER AIRWAY DISORDERS
For a long time, researchers and clinicians have thought that sensory changes in the larynx contribute to the development and persistence of some voice and upper airway disorders. Often referred to as an "irritable larynx," little is known about how to best quantify laryngeal sensitivity and track improvements over therapy. We have several projects that are using engineering techniques to capture biomechanical measures and quantify disorder severity in people with chronic cough and vocal hyperfunction.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigators Research Grant is funding portions of this project.
VOICE FUNCTION IN INDIVIDUALS WHO USE E- CIGARETTES
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have become increasingly popular among college-aged adults. Frequently referred to as "vaping" or "Juuling", electronic cigarette use is often believed to be a safe alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes. However, the use of electronic cigarettes is a growing health concern with reports of pulmonary complications, and in some cases, even death. Here, we are investigating how daily electronic cigarette use impacts voice and respiratory function. We suspect that individuals who use electronic cigarettes will exhibit voice problems at a higher rate than those who do not use tobacco products.
VOCAL FATIGUE & RECOVERY
Vocal fatigue is a common problem that almost everyone has experienced. Likely, the sensation of fatigue develops when someone is trying to compensate for an inefficient voice or for new vocal demands (i.e., like talking in a loud environment, or having to lecture in front of a class). In this study, we are interested in understanding how the respiratory and laryngeal systems interact with one another during acute fatigue and recovery from fatigue. Our multisystem analysis includes aging adults with and without pulmonary disease.
This project is supported by the NIH Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research.
GENDER DIVERSITY PROJECT
Transgender and gender diverse individuals often seek gender-affirming medical care, including voice therapy. The goal of voice therapy is to align the patient’s voice with their gender expression.
Our collaborative team of researchers and medical providers are working to understand how specific speech and voice characteristics influence gender-perception. Our team is also investigating how socioeconomic and psychosocial factors influence access to transgender voice care and vocal outcomes.
Students working on this project have been supported by UC's College of Allied Health Sciences as well as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship through UC's College of Medicine. This work is also supported by the Next Lives Here, Urban Health Pathways Seed Grant.