Measuring voluntary cough and its relationship to the perception of voice
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Therapy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Speech and Language Therapy
Cough is a motor act of the laryngeal and respiratory systems. Features of coughing have been considered in the examination of respiratory, swallowing and voice disorders. Although some voice disorders have been linked to excessive coughing, the precise relationship between cough and voice remains unknown. The present study examined the acoustic features of cough across sex and age; and its relationship to the perception of voice production. A total of 30 cough samples and 30 voice samples were collected from 15 healthy females and 15 healthy males; ranging from young age (17-25 years old), middle-aged (30-45 years old) and older-age (60 years old & above). Coughs containing three distinct phases were submitted to an acoustic analysis of the long-term average spectrum (LTAS) and cough duration. Both cough and voice samples were examined perceptually by a group of 20 speech-language pathologists. Results found a distinct three-phase pattern of cough that was remarkably stable across sex and age. Significant differences were found in the duration of each phase of cough. Perception of cough was not significantly related to acoustic features of cough. Perceptual judgment of sex was comparable for both cough and voice samples. However, the accuracy of age recognition was higher for voice samples compared to cough samples. In addition, voice was judged to be healthier and stronger than cough. Overall, the results partially support the previous acoustic findings on cough. A strong relationship between the acoustics of cough and the perception of cough was not evident. Listeners judged voice differently from cough, except for sex recognition. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed.