Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology


College of Sciences and Health Professions

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Subject Headings

Speech Therapy


The purpose of this study was to investigate vocal characteristics of various ethnic groups in terms of acoustic, physiological, and perceptual data. Currently there are acoustic parameter norms that have been established for men and women. Prior research suggested that these norms were established on only American Caucasian individuals. This creates the question as to whether or not these norms are reflective of the true nature of vocal fold closure pattern of all ethnic groups. If there is a difference in vocal characteristics then it would be important to establish specific norms for various ethnic groups. Further rationale for this investigation is that the demographic changes in the USA have signaled the need for greater understanding of treatment approaches for SLP and other health professionals. Secondly, establishing empirical evidence to support normative expectations for different groups may be helpful in understanding cultural expectations in treating voice disorders. Broadly speaking, I hypothesized that there would be a difference in fundamental frequency across ethnic groups. Specifically, there will be African-American participants that will demonstrate lower fundamental frequency parameters and that there will be differences in vocal fold behavior across the various ethnic groups. Fifteen individuals participated, one African-American male as well as three African-American females, two Asian males and one Asian female, three Caucasian males and two Caucasian females, one Hispanic male and two Hispanic females. Each participant underwent videostroboscopy for vocal fold observation. Additionally, aerodynamic vocal parameters were measured using the Visi-Pitch. All males demonstrated a posterior chink in their glottal closure pattern except for the Caucasian male group. There were no significant differences within acoustic measurements between the participants. When correlating the physiological and the acoustic data, it was demonstrated that the males with a posterior chink demonstrated a higher fundamental frequency compared to the males without a posterior chink. Currently there are no norm studies that have attempted to describe vocal fold closure across ethnic groups. The data identified in this study is relatively unexplored.