The throat is one of the most complex parts of the human body. It starts from the pharynx and extends to the upper end of the esophagus. Immediately following the pharynx are the larynx, epiglottis, larynx and the esophagus. The throat is responsible for performing a large number of functions, namely the swallowing, speaking and breathing.

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It also prevents the accumulation of saliva and helps in the process of digestion. Each of these parts in the Throat anatomy has been discussed in detail in the following sections:.

Adenoids is the term given to the lymphatic tissue collection. These tissues are located towards the rear side of the nasal passages which in turn lie in the nasopharynx. In terms of appearance, they look very similar to the tonsils. The two also share almost the same location except that the adenoids are located slightly higher than the tonsils.

After birth, the adenoids keep growing in size and only reach their full size during the early childhood. After these lymph glands have reached their full size, they start to decrease in size and by the time of adolescence, they will have disappeared almost completely.

Larynx Animation

The adenoids are an integral part of the immune system and help the body to fight against various infections arising out of the attacking viruses and bacteria that mainly enter the body during inhalation. The adenoids make use of different cells as well as antibodies in order to protect the throat against infections.

However, their role is not highly important, mainly because the body also has several other mechanisms for fighting infections, thereby offering only a lesser role to the lymph glands. Since the adenoids gradually reduce in size starting from childhood, they are not generally associated with health issues and complications. However, in rare cases, these glands swell up and thereby require treatment. The enlargement occurs mainly as a result of infection from bacteria and viruses.

At other times, they are also caused by allergies. Tonsils refer to the pair of soft lymphatic tissue lumps that lie at the back of the throat. They have an appearance similar to that of the adenoids.

The only difference is that they are found towards the rear part of the throat instead of the nasal passages. Although rare, another serious complication arising with the tonsils is cancer. They mainly help in defending the body against infections and illnesses caused by germs that enter the body during inhalation or eating. It is the antibodies and cells that are present in the tonsil that helps in the fighting off these malicious foreign microbes. Although the body also has several other ways to deal with infections, the tonsils form the first defense line.

The size of the tonsils is not constant and may vary considerably form one person to the other. The most problem arising with tonsils is tonsillitis, a condition during which the tonsils get infected.

There are also other less common conditions such as quinsy and glandular fever that can affect the tonsils. If repeatedly shows infections, it can be beneficial to go for surgeries and resolve the issue once and for all.

The epiglottis is simply a flap composed of soft cartilage which is then covered by a mucous membrane.

Voice Anatomy & Physiology

The epiglottis is directly attached to the posterior part of the tongue and covers the cavities lying behind it. Its main function is to prevent the liquids and food from going over to the lungs. The epiglottis is controlled involuntarily. It automatically closes every time we swallow something, even saliva. At the time of breathing, the epiglottis lies vertically and automatically adjusts itself into a horizontal placement at the time of swallowing so as to prevent the liquid and food items from entering the trachea.

Hence, the position of the epiglottis keeps changing between the larynx and the pharynx depending on whether you are swallowing or breathing. Since the epiglottis folds itself across the trachea at the time of swallowing, the contents are directly passed on to the esophagus.

However, in some cases, it may fail to do so thereby allowing the contents to move down a different lane.Related Graphics. Key Glossary Terms Larynx Highly specialized structure atop the windpipe responsible for sound production, air passage during breathing and protecting the airway during swallowing. Glottis also called Rima Glottides Opening between the two vocal folds; the glottis opens during breathing and closes during swallowing and sound production.

Understanding Voice DisordersKnowing how normal voice is produced and the roles the voice box and its parts play in speaking and singing helps patients understand their voice disorders. Speaking and singing involve a voice mechanism that is composed of three subsystems. Each subsystem is composed of different parts of the body and has specific roles in voice production.

Key Function of the Voice Box The key function of the voice box is to open and close the glottis the space between the two vocal folds.

Understanding the Basics of Throat anatomy

Breakdowns can occur in any one or all three subsystems of voice production. This patient education series focuses on voice disorders, specifically breakdowns in the vibratory system. Understanding How Voice Is Produced.

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Footer Search this website. Join Our Mailing List. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.A basic understanding of the what the larynx vocal cords and of voice production happens is necessary before a problem with your voice can be defined. This page is intended to give you a general idea of how your voice works, what the vocal cords look like, and a general description of the process involved in making sounds with your voice. The larynx is positioned in the front of the neck and serves to separate the respiratory breathing and digestive swallowing tracts.

Because of its location, the larynx plays a critical role in normal breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Damage to the larynx or its tissues can result in problems with any or all of these functions.

The larynx is made up mainly of two cartilages, the upper thyroid cartilage whose front side is often felt as the "Adam's apple"and the lower and smaller cricoid cartilage.

The epiglottis lies on the top portion of this structure and protects the larynx during swallowing and prevents aspiration breathing in of food. The vocal folds lie in the center of this structure in a front to back alignment. When viewed from above the vocal folds appear as a "V"-shaped structure with the opening between the "V" being the entrance to the trachea wind pipe, air tube. At the rear of the larynx on each side, each vocal fold is attached to a small arytenoid cartilage. Many small muscles also attach to the arytenoids.

These muscles contract or relax during the various stages of breathing, swallowing, and speaking, and their action is vital to the normal function of the larynx. Control over these muscles is provided by two branches of the vagus nerve: the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the superior laryngeal nerve. These nerves can be injured by trauma, surgery, or other causes. If this occurs, paralysis of the vocal folds may occur. This leads to the hoarseness, aspiration, and other symptoms associated with laryngeal nerve injury.

Voicing, or phonation, is a complicated process in which sound is produced for speech. During phonation, the vocal folds are brought together by muscles attached to the arytenoids cartilages structure. As air is forced through the vocal folds, they vibrate and produce sound. By tightening or relaxing the laryngeal muscles, the sounds of your voice can be changed.

As the sound produced by the larynx travels through the throat and mouth, it is further changed to produce speech. Please contact our office regarding scheduling appointments. Prior to scheduling an appointment, our providers often need to review chart notes related to the reason you want to be seen in order to coordinate any additional tests they may need in order to make the most of your visit. In some cases, we will require a referral from your primary care physician.

We would be happy to discuss this with you to ensure we have all we need to expedite the scheduling process. Please contact us by phone or email to begin the process.

How to Make an Appointment.Your power source is the breath that supports your sound. This is the driving force, and anything that affects your breath or your lungs can completely eliminate your ability to produce sound. The complex anatomy of the vocal folds is designed to produce smooth, even vibrations which will sound pleasant and not hoarse.

Resonators give all the richness and tone that make the voice musical and give it its individual quality and character. Asthmatics are particularly aware of this but even non-asthmatics can understand this concept. Take a shallow breath and attempt to shout. Now, take a deeper breath and attempt to shout.

Clearly it is easier with a deeper breath. Without enough air to support your sound, it will fall flat and quiet. Your lungs must be healthy in order to produce the breath you need.

Managing any lung disease correctly will improve your voice. Your diaphragm is the muscle that contracts to help expand your lungs.

vocal anatomy diagram

A slow, deep breath will give you more breath to work with. You can use this breath to produce a low-volume, long-duration sound or project a loud sound for a shorter amount of time. Careful control of your abdominal muscles will allow you to push more or less air, in accordance with the sound you want to produce.

The epithelium is the outermost layer of the vocal folds. It is thin and moist and resembles the lining on the inside of your cheek. The next layer is the superficial lamina propria SLPwhich is essentially a gelatinous material.

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Vibrations in this layer are what make sound and loss of SLP results in scarring and hoarseness. The final layer is the vocal ligament.

Tension in this structure helps determine the speed of vibration, and therefore the pitch of the sound.Order Singing Secrets. Other Singing Questions. Succeed at an American Idol Audition. Would You Benefit from Lessons? About Kristina. Read My Clips. Articles about Singing. Singing Terms.

Vocal Anatomy

Singers create sound by using the abdominal and back muscles, the rib cage, lungs, the oral cavity, and more. As air pressure builds up against them, the folds snap together and a sound is created. When they are snapped gently, a soft sound is heard; when they snap forcefully, a loud sound is the result.

The quicker the cords open and close, the higher the resulting pitch will be. These are durable little suckers: vocal cords open and close times per second during normal speech. The vocal folds opening and closing. The false vocal folds sit just above the true vocal cords and prevent food, etc.

When you start to sing, you begin by breathing. The muscles of the larynx bring the vocal cords together. They stay closed until enough breath i. As you run out of breath, the vocal cords are once again drawn together. Sound is actually produced by the pressure changes created when small jets of air pass through moving vocal cords. This is why it can be helpful to think of breath control as the steam engine that makes the machinery of singing function.

The picture above is a microscopic illustration of the vocal cords. These cords, or folds, are made up of several layers, and in a healthy cord, the uppermost layer is loose.There are two types of vocal folds also known as vocal cords which are referred to as 'true' and 'false'. The latter protect the more delicate 'true' folds and are located just above them. True vocal cords are two pieces of tissue which are located above the windpipe and stretch horizontally across the larynx.

They are controlled via the vagus nerve and due to a lack of blood circulation, appear light or almost white in colour. They differ in size between Just as our bodies, hair and features differ between each individual, these variations in size result in voices with a wide range of notes, tones and pitches so that every voice is unique.

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When we hold our breath, the vocal folds close, when we breath in the vocal cords are open and they vibrate as air passes through the larynx including when we speak or sing known as phonation. They oscillate so quickly opening and closing times per second when singing A above middle Cthat the movement cannot be seen properly by the naked eye without slowing down the film.

Hover your mouse over the image on the right to display how the folds move. Part 2 of the video is available at our new site VocalistOnline. This article was created using roll over images provided with permission from San Diago Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders plus information from WikiDocs article on vocal folds edited by C. Michael Gibson M. Browse the links provided below for more external articles. These are just a small example of the extensive links to online exercises and lessons we have available in the Singers Articles section, which contains complete listings of lessons, exercises or articles available on each site with direct links to the page when not a framed site plus answers to pretty much everything a beginner, intermediate, advanced singer or teacher needs to know!

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All links open in a new window. Anatomy of the Human Voice Was a brief overview of the anatomy of the human voice with an excellent short movie of the vocal folds in action at San Diego Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders who also kindly provided permission to use the larynx and vocal fold pictures on this page.

Their website is no longer available but used to contains a wonderful set of information, photographs and short movies on anatomy of the human voice, laryngeal anatomy and a variety of vocal health issues including GERD, vocal fold paralysis and other related topics.

Some of these appear to be available in the courses section of Michigan State University. Note: Link to San Diego Center removed - if anyone knows of the new site or what has happened to the center please contact us. Journey of the Voice Provides comprehensive information on the process of speech and singing complete with diagrams which include respiration, Support system for the voice framework with diagrams of spine, ribs, strenum, and pelvis, phonation, resonation, articlation and care of the voice by Eric Armstrong.

Anatomy and Physiology of Voice Production Articles provided by the Voice Foundation provide a wide range of authoritive information on the vocal mechanism, vocal production and health issues.

Emory University's Human Anatomy Course An explaination of the Pharynx and Larynx with diagrams of the structures of the throat and how movement affects the vocal chords. La Voix French site no english has some excellent diagrams of the larynx, respitory, hearing and resonation systems of the body.

vocal anatomy diagram

Respiratory System - Larynx Pictoral cross sections of the larynx and vocal folds - click on the links provided and labels will appear, excellent for singing teachers and students, the page has a print facility!Well, as we inhale, the diaphragm muscle contracts causing the lungs to expand and air to be drawn into the lungs.

As we exhale, the diaphragm will relax and move upward reducing the size of the lungs and causing air to be expelled from the lungs. This exhaled breath is then forced out along t he trachea, and through the vocal folds, which are capable of vibrating at an incredibly fast rate.

For voice to exist at all, the vocal folds must vibrate and it is at this point that the vibration of the vocal folds, coupled with the power of the exhaling breath gives rise to the creation of vocal sound. This sound is then shaped by the manipulation of the various structures along the vocal tract, such as the position of the tongue, and the larynx, etc.

vocal anatomy diagram

The articulators are the cheeks, tongue, teeth and lips and they all contribute to vocal articulation, whereas the sinus, chest, laryngeal and pharyngeal cavities all act as resonating chambers for the voice.

Sound occurs as a result of vibration.

vocal anatomy diagram

This is true throughout all of Nature and is evident in a myriad of different forms. The human voice is no exception. Current pedagogy, however, describes them as Vocal Folds, due to the malleable nature of their ligament-like structure. Here the folds can come together and move apart, allowing for breathing and sound production. The primary function of the larynx is to protect the airways and stop food entering into the lungs. The larynx itself is protected in the neck by an increase in muscle, cartilage and bone.

The provision of sound is a secondary function of the vocal folds. The vocal and vestibular folds close during the acts of swallowing, coughing, excreting, giving birth and when pushing or lifting heavy objects etc. This closing is called constriction. As we can see here, the vocal folds are suspended over the open space of the trachea, where they act as a sort of portal, through which all the air that comes into and goes out from the body must pass.

We can also see the vestibular or false vocal folds which sit just above the delicate vocal folds, protecting them from damage through strain and swallowing. This is where constriction of the voice and the optimum retraction of false folds occurs. While humans are able to last weeks or more without food, and days or more without water, we can only last a brief few minutes without oxygen from the air.

Breath is crucial to the fundamental workings of the voice. Without breath there would be nothing to power the voice, or even to ensure that the vibration of the vocal folds can be heard.

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