Fundamental Frequency of Neonatal Crying: Does Body Size Matter?

Kathleen Wermke, Michael P. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the influence of fetal growth on the fundamental frequency (F0) of neonatal crying in a group of healthy full-term infants. The spontaneous cries of 131 infants were audio recorded during the first week of life, and subsequently submitted to acoustic analyses. The individual cry utterances produced by each infant were measured for minimum, mean, and maximum F0. The infants were placed into one of three groupings (low, average, high) based on body size indices according to the ponderal index (PI), the ratio of body weight to body length (BW/L), and body weight (BW) alone. The F0 features of infants in each subgrouping of body size were compared and contrasted. The results indicated that features of cry F0 were found to decrease marginally as a function of increased body size, with significant group differences confined to maximum F0. The BW index appeared to be the most sensitive measure in differentiating infant groups according to body size. In general, neonatal body size appears to have a slight, although nonsignificant influence on the vocal F0 of crying in healthy full-term infants. Any body size-related changes in cry F0 are likely to be found for maximum F0 and may reflect stress-related variations in nervous system activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-394
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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