Cooperative regulation of vocal fold morphology and stress by the cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscles

Shinji Deguchi, Yuki Kawahara, Satoshi Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Voice is produced by vibrations of vocal folds that consist of multiple layers. The portion of the vocal fold tissue that vibrates varies depending primarily on laryngeal muscle activity. The effective depth of tissue vibration should significantly influence the vibrational behavior of the tissue and resulting voice quality. However, thus far, the effect of the activation of individual muscles on the effective depth is not well understood. In this study, a three-dimensional finite element analysis is performed to investigate the effect of the activation of two major laryngeal muscles, the cricothyroid (CT) and thyroarytenoid (TA) muscles, on vocal fold morphology and stress distribution in the tissue. Because structures that bear less stress can easily be deformed and involved in vibration, information on the morphology and stress distribution may provide a useful estimate of the effective depth. The results of the analyses indicate that the two muscles perform distinct roles, which allow cooperative control of the morphology and stress. When the CT muscle is activated, the tip region of the vocal folds becomes thinner and curves upward, resulting in the elevation of the stress magnitude all over the tissue to a certain degree that depends on the stiffness of each layer. On the other hand, the TA muscle acts to suppress the morphological change and controls the stress magnitude in a position-dependent manner. Thus, the present analyses demonstrate quantitative relationships between the two muscles in their cooperative regulation of vocal fold morphology and stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e255-e263
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Cricothyroid muscle
  • Finite element analysis
  • Larynx
  • Thyroarytenoid muscle
  • Vocal fold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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