The purpose of this study was to gather data on glottal gap configurations in two age groups of women. Using videostroboscopy, glottal closure patterns of 20 women (10 young, 10 elderly) were observed across nine pitch/loudness conditions. While both young and elderly speakers displayed a high incidence of glottal gaps, the two groups differed markedly in the configuration of the gaps observed and in the phonatory conditions under which gaps were observed. Young speakers demonstrated posterior chink and incomplete closure significantly more frequently than elderly women, although rarely demonstrating anterior gap or spindle configuration. In contrast, anterior gap was the single most common type of gap in the elderly, with spindle also occurring significantly more frequently. Individual elderly speakers, overall, changed glottic configuration more frequently across phonatory conditions than did young speakers. Some individual elderly speakers tended to vary glottic configuration consistently with pitch level changes.
KEY WORDS: glottal gaps, vocal aging, videostroboscopic assessment of the larynx, age changes in the larynx
Submitted on September 30, 1991
Accepted on March 3, 1992