Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2013; 17(03): 329-339
DOI: 10.7162/S1809-977720130003000014
Review Article
Thieme Publicações Ltda Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Use of surface electromyography in phonation studies: an integrative review

Patricia Maria Mendes Balata
1  Doctor in Neuropsychiatry and Behaviour Science of Adolescent Health; Speech and Language Pathologist; Voice Specialist ; (Speech and Language Pathologist of the Hospital dos Servidores do Estado de Pernambuco).
Hilton Justino da Silva
2  Doctor of Nutrition; Speech and Language Pathologist; Master of Anatomy; Specialist in oral Motricity (Teacher in the Speech and Language Pathology Department of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco).
Kyvia Juliana Rocha de Moraes
3  Master of Pathology; Physiotherapist (Teacher in the Physiotherapy Department of the Faculdade Estacio do Recife).
Leandro de Araújo Pernambuco
4  Master of Pathology; Speech and Language Pathologist; Specialist in oral Motricity (Teacher in the Speech and Language Pathology Department of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte; Doctoral Student in Public Health).
Sílvia Regina Arruda de Moraes
5  Doctor of Sciences; Physiotherapist (Teacher in the Anatomy Department of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco).
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

04 October 2012

18 January 2013

Publication Date:
21 January 2014 (online)



Introduction: Surface electromyography has been used to assess the extrinsic laryngeal muscles during chewing and swallowing, but there have been few studies assessing these muscles during phonation.

Objective: To investigate the current state of knowledge regarding the use of surface electromyography for evaluation of the electrical activity of the extrinsic muscles of the larynx during phonation by means of an integrative review.

Method: We searched for articles and other papers in the PubMed, Medline/Bireme, and Scielo databases that were published between 1980 and 2012, by using the following descriptors: surface electromyography and voice, surface electromyography and phonation, and surface electromyography and dysphonia. The articles were selectedon the basis ofinclusion and exclusion criteria.

Data Synthesis: This was carried out with a cross critical matrix. We selected 27 papers,i.e., 24 articles and 3 theses. The studies differed methodologically with regards to sample size and investigation techniques, making it difficult to compare them, but showed differences in electrical activity between the studied groups (dysphonicsubjects, non-dysphonicsubjects, singers, and others).

Conclusion: Electromyography has clinical applicability when technical precautions with respect to application and analysis are obeyed. However, it is necessary to adopt a universal system of assessment tasks and related measurement techniques to allow comparisons between studies.