Anatomy of the Voicebox (Part 2 of 4)
Next, one needs to have a basic understanding of the voicebox and its various parts. The voicebox (also known as the larynx), is found in the middle of a person's neck with the adam's apple being the topmost part of the larynx.
There are many parts of the voicebox, but the key part is the "true vocal cord" which is depicted below (labelled as TVC). Between the true vocal cords, is an opening that goes into the windpipe (or trachea) which leads down to a person's lungs. This view is obtained by use of a fiberoptic endoscope. To understand more on how this is performed, click here. A short movie with the anatomy described is shown here.
When breathing, the vocal cords are apart (or ABducted). When talking, the vocal cords come together (or ADducted). When they are together to create a voice, they vibrate very quickly creating sound. They vibrate so fast in fact that the eye cannot see the individual motions, much like one cannot see the actual wing motion of a hummingbird in flight. In order for a doctor to see exactly what the vocal cord is doing, the vibrations can be slowed down by using special equipment called video stroboscopy. Here is an excellent discussion going into the physics of how/why the vibrations occur.
All movie examples shown in this website utilized video endoscopy/stroboscopy (video showing vocal cord movement in action). Go to the next section to see a list of normal and abnormal video and audio examples. Alternatively, go to the Photo Library to see pictures of abnormalities of the voicebox.
Ever wonder why inhaling helium changes your voice pitch? Watch this video!
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