Phonation into glass tubes ('resonance tubes'), keeping the free end of the tube in water, has been a frequently used voice therapy method in Finland and more recently also in other countries. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate what effects tube phonation with and without water has on the larynx. Two participants were included in the study. The methods used were high-speed imaging, electroglottographic observations of vocal fold vibrations, and measurements of oral pressure during tube phonation. Results showed that the fluctuation in the back pressure during tube phonation in water altered the vocal fold vibrations. In the high-speed imaging, effects were found in the open quotient and amplitude variation of the glottal opening. The open quotient increased with increasing water depth (from 2 cm to 6 cm). A modulation effect by the water bubbles on the vocal fold vibrations was seen both in the high-speed glottal area tracings and in the electroglottography signal. A second experiment revealed that the increased average oral pressure was largely determined by the water depth. The increased open quotient can possibly be explained by an increased abduction of the vocal folds and/or a reduced transglottal pressure. The back pressure of the bubbles also modulates glottal vibrations with a possible 'massage' effect on the vocal folds. This effect and the well-defined average pressure increase due to the known water depth are different from those of other methods using a semi-occluded vocal tract.
Keywords: Back pressure; bubbles in water; electroglottography; high-speed imaging; oral pressure; resonance tube phonation in water; semi-occluded vocal tract.