Vocal tract acoustic resonance was evaluated in a group of 10 untreated adult males with diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome compared to 10 non-OSA adult males. Subjects were required to prolong the vowels/i/, /u/ and /a/, which were subsequently submitted to acoustic analysis of formant frequency and formant bandwidth. Results of the formant frequency analysis indicated lower formant values among the OSA group compared to the non-OSA group, for each vowel type. The lower formant frequencies among the OSA group were attributed to greater vocal tract length compared to non-OSA speakers. The corresponding formant bandwidths for each vowel produced by the OSA group were significantly wider compared to the non-OSA group. The wide formant bandwidths were interpreted to reflect significantly greater vocal tract damping in the OSA subjects, resulting from either excessive vocal tract tissue compliance or general size differences in the length and cross- sectional area of the vocal tract. Discussion focuses on the potential applications of acoustic analysis to aid in the diagnosis and follow-up treatment of OSA.
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