Swelling tests*

Vocal tasks that reveal the vocal phenomenology of mucosal disturbances such as [intlink id=”653″ type=”post”]vocal nodules[/intlink], [intlink id=”662″ type=”post”]vocal polyps[/intlink], vocal cysts (see [intlink id=”169″ type=”post”]epidermoid cyst[/intlink] and [intlink id=”359″ type=”post”]mucus retention cyst[/intlink]), and so forth. These tasks incorporate high frequency (pitch), very low intensity (loudness), and sometimes rapid onset/offset of the voice. The two swelling tests used at Bastian Voice Institute almost exclusively are the first phrase of “Happy Birthday,” and a five-note descending staccato. In both cases the individual should produce the voice in a tiny “boy soprano pianissimo” kind of production; this tiny dynamic is insisted on because getting even a little louder tends to conceal the problem. Women should focus on the C5-C6 octave. Signs of swelling test positivity include [intlink id=”401″ type=”post”]onset delay[/intlink], [intlink id=”64″ type=”post”]breathiness[/intlink] that gets worse as one ascends the scale, and loss of expected upper range, as understood by a [intlink id=”503″ type=”post”]singing voice qualified[/intlink] clinician. Note that a small gap between the vocal folds can also cause [intlink id=”401″ type=”post”]onset delay[/intlink] and [intlink id=”64″ type=”post”]breathiness[/intlink], but differences in performance between the two can help to indicate whether the problem is swelling, or gap.

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