Vocal fold nodules: A disorder of phonation organs or auditory feedback?

Shao Hsuan Lee, Jen Fang Yu, Tuan Jen Fang*, Guo She Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Increasing evidence supports that auditory feedback of one's own voice closely relates to real-time adjustments of vocal control. Previous studies highlighted that the low-frequency modulations of below 3 Hz (LFM) embedded in vocal fundamental frequency (F0) showed a reflex-like response to altered auditory inputs. However, the auditory feedback control of different vocal disorders remains unclear. Design: A cross-sectional, case-controlled study. Setting: A tertiary medical centre. Participants: Sustained vocalisations of vowel/a/ from adult healthy controls and patients with vocal fold nodules, vocal fold polyps and vocal fold cysts, respectively. The vocalisations were made at a comfortable pitch and at the intensity of 70 ~ 80 dBC under the following four auditory conditions: natural hearing, 90-dBC speech noise, 10-dBC enhanced feedback of self-produced voice and both the noise and voice feedback. Main outcome measures: Power spectral analysis of F0 contour of sustained vowel. Results: Patients with vocal fold nodules presented with different audio-vocal feedback behaviour and audio-vocal response to speech noise from the other two vocal pathologies of vocal fold polyp and vocal fold cyst as well as the healthy controls (P <.001, one-way ANOVA). Conclusion: The vocal fold nodules may be not only a vocal fold disease but also a disease caused by abnormal audio-vocal feedback. Moreover, the distinct audio-vocal feedback of vocal fold nodules could be revealed by power spectral analysis of vocal fundamental frequencies. Although further investigations are necessary, adjustments of audio-vocal feedback behaviour may provide a new insight and benefit to the treatment of vocal fold nodules in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-982
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019


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