|I know we have a vocal box, but I do not know how
the vocal box works. Could you help? We do not
have any reference book that I could use to look
up this topic.
|Question Date: 1998-05-08|
HI! Look up this website to see how an artificial
voice box works...
at this website will help you understand how a
simple voice box works, and then you can learn how
a real voice box works. The voice box is also
called a larynx (sounds like lair-inks). You need
air from your lungs
flowing across a piece of
tissue or material that will create the sounds
that we recognize as speech. These materials are
called vocal chords in our bodies, but if they are
not working, a person can use an artificial larynx
Instead of vibrating vocal chords,
see if you can figure out what they would use! (If
you have internet access, don't peek at the next
part until you read the website, okay? If you
don't have internet access, think about the
question and then, read on!)
person who needs to use an ARTIFICIAL larynx to
speak, forces air from their lungs to vibrate a
metal reed inside a tube to create sound
vibrations. As you can see from the website
picture, they hold the metal reed in the tube
against their throat (this is where a real larynx
on this person, if it was working
properly). They then used their mouth, lips and
tongue to "shape" the vibrations from the reed
into speech patterns, just like we do when we
Check out this page for anatomy
(body diagrams) of the larynx:
For a cool quicktime movie of an laryngeal
endoscopy (they stick a little tube with a camera
down your throat and film your vocal cords
moving!) see this page. Find the movie half-way
down the page under the title of "Video
Your vocal box, also called the larynx
(LAIR-inks), is made out of cartilage (the same as
the "gristle" on the ends of chicken bones).Inside
it are flaps that can close or open to allow
different amounts of air through them, these are
the vocal cords. They are part of the walls of
the larynx and they have muscles to control them.
If the cords are pulled back so that they don't
vibrate, the passing air makes (almost) no noise.
If the vocal cords are partially closed, they
vibrate. This vibration is the sound we hear.
Try cutting off the end of a balloon. Now when
you blow through it, it's noisy. Our vocal cords
aren't this floppy, but you'll get the idea. If
you pinch part of the end of the balloon, the
noise will have a higher pitch. By opening and
closing the vocal cords, we can produce sounds
that are high or low.
You may be thinking,
"Hey, that's just noise, not speech." That's
true, because speech requires the use of our lips
and tongues to modify the noise. You can't talk
using only your vocal cords.
throats of adult men, you can see the outline of
the larynx, also called the "Adam's apple". The
larynx is not visible on the throats females or
younger males. Why not? (hint: which has a lower
tone, a tuba or a bugle?)
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