Influence of stage fright on activities and sensations within the vocal tract
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Introduction: Stage fright is a symptom of excessive emotional arousal, and it is commonly referred to as social anxiety. This type of anxiety results mainly from a sense of being judged by others in a given social situation. Materials and Methods: We enrolled 27 female students, aged 22-30 years. We used two methods to examine the influence of stage fright on the activities and sensations within the vocal tract; namely, palpation assessment and the Vocal Tract Discomfort and Voice Quality questionnaire, which were performed twice, i.e., shortly after a presentation in front of an audience and after a normal conversation. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of stage fright on actions and sensations within the vocal tract. Results: Participants had significantly higher scores with regard to palpation assessment, discomfort, and voice quality after presentations in front of an audience than after normal conversations, indicating a negative impact of stage fright on the studied parameters. Discussion: Stage fright significantly affects activities within the vocal tract structures such as the submandibular region, lateral pharyngeal walls, sternocleidomastoid muscles, and cricothyroid and thyrohyoid spaces; also, it affects jaw mobility and breathing patters. In addition, stage fright induces negative sensations within the vocal tract such as burning, tension, dryness, jaw clenching, throat tightness, grunting, shallow breathing, voice tremor, hoarseness, and faltering voice. The feeling of discomfort during situations that elicit stage fright correlates with self-assessed voice quality.
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