Vocalization and breathing during the first year of life

Carol A. Boliek, Thomas J. Hixon, Peter J. Watson, Wayne J. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Vocalization and breathing were studied in 40 healthy infants, including five boys and five girls each at ages 5 weeks, 2.5 months, 6.5 months, and 12 months. Breathing was monitored through the use of a variable inductance plethysmograph that enabled estimates of the volume changes of the rib cage, abdomen, and lung, as well as estimates of selected temporal features of the breathing cycle. Four vocalization types were studied intensively. These included cries, whimpers, grunts, and syllable utterances. Breathing behavior was highly variable across the four vocalization types, demonstrating the degrees of freedom of performance available to the infant to accomplish the aeromechanical drive required. Such behavior was influenced by body length, body position, and age, but not by vocalization type and sex. The protocol established is a useful tool for observing the natural course of the emergence of vocalization and breathing during the first year of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment: This work was supported in part by National Multipurpose Research and Training Center Grant DC-01409 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We are indebted to Dr. Lynn Taussig for allowing us to use facilities within


  • Breathing
  • Development
  • Infants
  • Physiology
  • Vocalization


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