A quantitative output-cost ratio (OCR) is proposed for objective use in voice production and is defined as the ratio of the acoustic output intensity to the collision intensity of the vocal folds. Measurement of the OCR is demonstrated in a laboratory experiment using 5 excised larynges and a transducer designed for use on human subjects. Data were gathered at constant fundamental frequency (150 Hz). Subglottal pressure was varied from 1.0 to 1.6 kPa, and glottal width at the vocal processes was varied from a pressed condition to a 2-mm gap. The OCR was plotted as a function of glottal width. With no vocal tract, the excised larynx experiments yielded a broad maxima in the OCR curves, across all subglottal pressure conditions, at about 0.6 mm. Computer simulations indicate that sharper maxima may occur when the influence of the vocal tract is taken into account. The potential clinical utility of the OCR is discussed for treatment of a wide range of voice disorders, including those involving both hyper- and hypoadduction.
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