What is Glottal Fry?
A glottal fry is recognized when the vocal folds vibrate very slowly, making the voice appear “crackly” or “creaky.” A true vocal or glottal fry is nonmusical in quality, and is produced without excessive tension. Many speakers deviate into a fry when they are tired, and glottal fry is commonly heard at the tail end of sentences. This gives this impression that the person is running out of air, as they do not have enough breath to sustain phonation.
The vibration causes a slow, low pitch vocal burst, which disrupts the smoothness of vocal quality. It is often compared to the sound of a creaky door or popcorn popping. The airflow rate and the air pressure that produces vocal fold vibration are both low and lung volume is reduced. Producing a glottal fry sparingly will not cause vocal harm, though if produced excessively, it can be fatiguing.
A glottal fry can be remediated and often eliminated with treatment by vocal therapy, provided by a speech-language pathologist. To eliminate a glottal fry, one will be taught to improve respiratory support and to alter pitch. A therapist may also teach the individual how to produce a glottal fry to improve other vocal quality problems; for example, stridency. Vocal hygiene will also be discussed in order to help eliminate other concurrent negative, vocally abusive behaviors.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, the goal of vocal therapy is to help the child produce a voice of the best possible pitch, loudness, and quality in relation to the individual’s age, gender, and culture. An evaluation will include an extensive case history review, as well as assessment of respiration, phonation, resonance, and assessment of voice measures. The evaluation may or may not include instrumentation, in order to obtain objective acoustic measures of voice. Perceptual checklists and observation of vocal quality will also be used. Pending the findings of the evaluation, measureable goals and a specific treatment plan for the particular child will be discussed with the family. A home program will also be developed for the child, in order to help generalize the skills learned in the treatment sessions to the home and school environment as well.