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Speech apparatus

Let us know all the details of the speech system, that great unknown of the human body that fulfills a very important function in the human body, know all its parts, characteristics and functions of the speech organ.

What is a speech apparatus?

The speech apparatus encompasses all the organs involved in the transformation of air into sound vibrations. It is closely related to the respiratory system and its main objective is to allow human communication through spoken language.

In this article we will see what it is exactly, how it works and the different parts that make up the speech apparatus .

Parts of the speech apparatus

The phonetic apparatus is made up of three groups of organs.

Organs of respiration


The lungs are the largest organs in the human body and their main function is to allow inspiration and expiration of air . They are made up of connective tissue inside which are the bronchi, which progressively bifurcate from the trachea.


The bronchi are the tubes that arise from the bifurcation of the trachea . Each of the bronchi is connected to one of the lungs. Air enters through the trachea and reaches the lungs through the bronchi, so its role is very important.


The trachea is one of the most important elements of the respiratory system. It is the tube that connects the nose and mouth with the lungs and bronchial tubes . It is tube-shaped and consists of a set of carilaginous rings. It begins in the larynx and runs to the thorax.

Speaking organs


The larynx is a tubular organ made up of a total of six cartilages . It connects the pharynx with the trachea. It is the organ of phonation since the vocal cords are located in the larynx.

Vocal chords

The vocal cords are the element of the phonological apparatus responsible for the production of the voice . Despite their name, the truth is that they are not shaped like a rope, but are a set of folds. There are a total of four, divided into two large groups: true and false . The false ones do not participate in the production of sounds, while the real ones do.


Resonators are responsible for turning the vibrations that come from the vocal cords into sound.

Articulating organs


The palate is the upper wall of the oral cavity . It is divided into two parts: the bony palate and the soft palate. Its main function is to separate the oral cavity from the nostrils and its interaction with the tongue allows the articulation of sounds.


the tongue is a mobile organ that is inside the mouth. It plays a key role in numerous functions, such as hydration of the mouth , swallowing or language, among others. It is characterized by its cone shape.


In the case of adults, they have a total of 32 teeth : 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars. It is interesting to know that not all adults have wisdom teeth since there is not always enough room for them to grow.


The lips are essential to carry out a large selection of functions, such as sucking or kissing, among others.


The glottis is the narrowest part of what is called the laryngeal lumen , a space limited by the vocal cords. Before the vibration of the vocal cords, the sound is transformed into voice or sonority. Thus, when they do not vibrate, what is called a dull sound is produced.

How does the speech apparatus work?

It is interesting to know how the speech apparatus works, responsible for transforming air into sound. It is divided into four parts.


The first organs that take part in the production of sound are the same ones that are used to breathe. They are therefore part of the respiratory system; diaphragm, lungs, bronchi and trachea .

The breathing process is made up of two stages. The first one is the so-called inspiration . When you take a breath, the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm contract, causing the rib cage to increase in volume. The second stage is known as expiration . In it, the intercostal muscles relax, so that the volume of the rib cage is reduced as the air leaves the lungs.


It is in the larynx where sound is physically produced . It is therefore the most important part of the speech system. It allows both the entry and the health of air and also determines the characteristics that define a person’s voice such as tone or intensity.

The larynx is made up of a set of cartilages, the size of which varies depending on certain factors, such as age or gender. Thus, the larger the size of the larynx, the vocal cords are also larger, so that the sounds they produce are more serious.

It is at this stage that the air transforms into sound . The air that comes from the lungs rises towards the glottis, which remains closed. Thus, the increased pressure caused by the air causes the vocal cords to open to allow air to pass through. Depending on the amount of air that passes through, the sound is higher or lower.


The third phase is what is called the resonance mechanism. In it the sound is amplified, controlled and modulated.

There are three elements that play a fundamental role. On the one hand, the nasal cavity, through which air enters the lungs. On the other hand, the oral cavity, responsible for sound modulation. And finally, the pharynx, which distributes the air that travels from the larynx and determines the timbre of each person’s voice.


In the last phase of the phonation mechanism the articulating organs intervene : the palate, the tongue, the teeth … All the elements that make up the mouth.

In it the sounds take on their last nuances, so that the air is transformed into words and speech occurs. It is the tongue and lips that participate in the production of phonemes.

How is sound produced?

The vocal cords are located in the larynx. They are responsible for producing a sound vibration due to the joint action of the mouth, nose, throat and larynx. It is in the latter where the voice is produced, so that the nose, mouth and throat have a secondary role.

Once the air enters the body, it is transported to the lungs, passing through the bronchi and the windpipe. In this way it creates a current of air that when passing through the vocal cords produces the vibration .

There are certain organs, which are called articulators, which are responsible for shaping the air. These organs are the following: lips, teeth, hard palate, jaw and soft palate.

What is the voice?

The voice is defined as the sound that the air that comes out of the lungs produces when it is expelled through the larynx , causing the vocal cords to vibrate. It is known as such the sound that is produced when a person speaks, sings, laughs … The frequency ranges between 60 and 7000 Hz.

Phonation takes place during breathing. When the air lodged in the lungs goes out through the bronchi and the trachea, reaching the larynx.

The lower vocal cords located in the larynx, when they are opened and collected on both sides, the air passes without exerting any type of pressure; this is what is known as respiration. If, on the contrary, both strings come together, they cause the air to collide with them, thus producing the voice. When the cords don’t open or close properly, vocal cord paralysis can occur .

The sound produced by the vocal cords is very weak, so it must be amplified. This amplification takes place in the resonators. The human voice is later shaped by articulators, thanks to which it becomes speech sounds.

Such is the importance of voice that there is a day dedicated to it, World Voice Day . It is celebrated globally on April 16 with the main objective of making the population aware of how important it is to take care of the voice and detect those diseases that affect the vocal cords.

Diseases of the speech apparatus

The most frequent disorders of the Speech Apparatus are always related to the voice, these are the diseases that affect this system:

  • Psychogenic aphonia
  • Hyperfunctional Dysphonia
  • Functional dysphonia
  • Organic dysphonia

The most common causes are usually a developmental abnormality, vocal cord polyps, cysts, ulcers, trauma, even Parkinson’s disease . The treatments and symptoms are very varied, but in general the symptoms are usually an effort when speaking, sudden changes in the tone of the voice, even pain.

For severe cases of some voice diseases, rest will not work as a treatment, microsurgery will have to be carried out to later go through speech therapy rehabilitation.

Drawings and Images of the Speech Apparatus

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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