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Comparison of Respiration for Life vs Respiration for Speech
Respiration is considered a vital bodily function. Our organs help us survive by respiration through the supply of oxygen. Specifically, it involves the process of taking in oxygen after carbon dioxide has been removed from the bloodstream. The process of one giving speech requires respiration as well. The vocal cords vibrate when air exhaled passes through vocals while being forced out of the body. There is a difference between respiration for life and respiration for speech, even though respirational functions take place in thoracic cavity as it involves air (Stegemöller, Radig, Hibbing, Wingate, & Sapienza, 2017). Also, respiration has different inhalation and exhalation ratios considering the purpose of respiration. Regarding respiration for life, the rate of inhalation to exhalation is almost equal. Unlike respiration for life, respiration for speech has different ratio since the time use in exhalation is more than inhalation. As a person speaks, their body spends 90% of the cycles exhaling while 10% inhaling. The significant portion difference arises since speech requires a large volume of air thus a person may breathe faster while speaking.
The process of respiration occurs in the thorax and chest cavity. The thorax organ has 32 to 33 spinal columns with their individual vertebrae as components. The individual vertebrae are further divided into 3 or 4 coccygeal, five sacral, seven cervical and five lumbers (Lumb, 2016). Additionally, the breastbone and sternum are right in front of the thorax as it is further divided into three parts which are; the body, manubrium and xiphoid process. The ribs emerging from the backbone of every side is made up of 12 sets of bones that forms the rib cage. These ribs are designated to have the same number as a system used in form of vertebrae. “From the first rib they have a large spacing increasing through to the eight-rib and the rest have a smaller spacing up to the twelfth rib,” (Al-Ali, Muhsin, & O’reilly, 2018). All the spacing on this cage forms a shape similar to the shape of a barrel. From the inside of the thoracic cavity, there is a parietal pleura that is airtight and has a thin serous membrane. Thereafter, there is diaphragm which is dome-shaped sheet of muscles. Similarly, the diaphragm may be called an inverted bowl but with muscle fibers that help in the separation of the thorax from the abdominal cavity. Lungs are also located within the thorax (Ambrosino, Vitacca, Dreher, Isetta, Montserrat, Tonia, ; Vagheggini, 2016). Lungs mostly consist of spongy air sacs that are considered highly elastic. These muscles are pliable since they have little smooth muscles. Also, the visceral pleura covers the outside walls of the lungs which has a similar membrane (Grassmann, Vlemincx, von Leupoldt, Mittelstädt, ; Van den Bergh, 2016). The visceral pleura is on the outside of the lungs while the parietal pleura is inside the ribcage forming the “pleural linkage.” The two membranes repel each other hence, they can slide against each other without causing friction. The two layers may symbolize two glasses separated by surface tension fluid forming a link that enables the lungs to adapt the shape of the thoracic cavity. Bronchi inside the lungs are divided into smaller bronchi which are then divided into bronchioles. The bronchioles go further dividing into smaller bronchioles known as alveolar ducts which lead into alveolar sacs called the alveoli. In the alveoli, the pouch is where carbon dioxide is exchanged with oxygen.
The amount of energy exerted by a person will determine the volume of voice. “When a person does light work their voice changes to 1,670cc, and while they are doing heavy work their volume rises to over 2030cc,” (Grassmann et al. 2016). The highest volume of the reserve is estimated to be from 1500 to 2500cc when a person is breathing quite normal. This inspiratory reserve volume is the amount of air one can inhale past their tidal volume when speaking. It implies that it is the maximum amount of air one can exhale or inhale. Most of the male person ranges from 3500cc and 5000cc, but the inspiratory volume varies with breathing habits, size, and sex. During a person’s quiet breathing, 7% of the total volume of the lungs is used for air exchange.
Respiration mostly depends on inspiration process. Inspiration starts with the contraction of the diaphragm. The volume of thoracic cavity increases subsequently as the diaphragm flattens. There is an opposition between the external and internal intercostal muscles. The outer fibers run to the vertebrae from the sternum obliquely (Ambrosino et al.2016). The ribs from a section of internal costal are elevated when there is a construction of the external intercostal muscles. The interior of the cartilaginous portion of the ribs expands since they work as muscles fibers thus the thoracic cavity form interior increases its dimensions as the volume of the cavity increases.
When the volume of the lungs increases, the volume of thoracic cavity increases subsequently. According to the law invented in the 17th century by Robert Boyle; (Boyle’s law), “if gas is kept at a constant temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional to one another and have a constant product.” It implies that the volume of thoracic cavity increase causes a reduction of pressure within the cavity (Grassmann et al. 2016). The low pressure in the inside results to air rushing into the lung through the nose. While the air is in the nose, its temperature is regulated before it passes the pharynx; a cavity that links the oral cavities and the nasal to the esophagus and the larynx (Ambrosino et al.2016). Air rushes through the larynx, to the trachea, then the division of lungs and finally reaching the alveolar sacs. This process proceeds until the pressure above the vocal folds equilibrates.
Whereas expiration for life occurs when passive forces make inspiration muscles to relax, expiration for speech is an active procedure. During this process, three unique stages happen. During the first stage, the diaphragm, the external intercostals and the muscle of inspiration continue to be active to avail a braking force (Ambrosino et al. 2016). The muscles are important because they prevent the lungs from collapsing rapidly and force the air out. In the second stage, the muscles of inspiration stop functioning, therefore, the natural elastic recoil of the lungs ensures that the air is forced out. In the last stage, the remaining air is squirted out by the muscle of expiration to ensure there is equal pressure over the entire length of utterances.
Respiration for speech and respiration for life are similar in that they involve air and they occur in the thoracic cavity. However, respiration for life supplies the body of human beings with oxygen while the respiration for life supplies air that is used when vocal fold vibrates. There are three main difference between respiration for speech and respiration for life. First, the muscles are used differently. During respiration for speech, the muscles used during inspiration functions during expiration so that it regulated the air released (Grassmann et al. 2016). During inspiration for life, the muscle used for inspirations which are the diaphragm and intercostals relax hence causing the passive process of expiration. The second difference lies in the ratios of exhalations against inhalations. During quiet breathing, the ratios of exhalation and inhalation are approximately equal, whereas in speech breathing the exhalation is longer compared to inhalations. The third difference is observed in the volume of air required. A large volume of air is required during speech compared to when respiring for life. By comprehending the differences between respiration for speech and respiration for life, educators of the hearing-impaired should have a better comprehension of breathing required for teaching speech that is intangible.

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