Impact of Muscle Tension Dysphonia on Tonal Pitch Target Implementation in Vietnamese Female Teachers

Duong Duy Nguyen*, Dianna T. Kenny

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) is a voice disorder with deteriorated vocal quality, particularly pitch problems. Because pitch is mainly controlled by the laryngeal muscles, and because MTD is characterized by increased laryngeal muscle tension, we hypothesized that it may result in problems in pitch target implementation in tonal languages. We examined tonal samples of 42 Vietnamese female primary school teachers diagnosed with MTD and compared them with 30 vocally healthy female teachers who spoke the same dialect. Tonal data were analyzed using Computerized Speech Lab (CSL-4300B) for Windows. From tonal sampling bases, fundamental frequency (F0) was measured at target points specified by contour examination. Parameters representing pitch movement including time, size, and speed of movement were measured for the falling tone and rising tone. We found that F0 at target points in MTD group was lowered in most tones, especially tones with extensive F0 variation. In MTD group, target F0 of the broken tone in isolation was 37.5 Hz lower (P < 0.01) and target F0 of rising tone in isolation was 46 Hz lower (P < 0.01) than in control group. In MTD group, speed of pitch fall of the falling tone in isolation was faster than control group by 2.2 semitones/second (st/s) (P < 0.05) and speed of pitch rise in the rising tone in isolation was slower than control group by 7.2 st/s (P < 0.01). These results demonstrate that MTD is associated with problems in tonal pitch variation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)690-698
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Voice
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


    • Muscle tension dysphonia
    • Pitch change
    • Teachers
    • Tonal language
    • Vietnamese tones


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