When you hear the words "vocal fry," you might think of the Fry Guys from those old McDonald's commercials, but it's actually the name of a speech disorder that can cause vocal cord lesions. It's also used to describe the singing technique of artists like Britney Spears and Kesha -- and, as a facepalm-inducing result, it could be the hottest trend among young women since the duckface.

As outlined in a report from the U.K.'s Daily Mail, speech pathologists have noticed a rise in "speaking in a creaky, rough and guttural sound," and a new study chalks it up to vocally fried celebrities like Britney, Kesha, and Kim Kardashian.

According to the Daily Mail, Spears and Kesha exemplify the 'vocal fry' in some of their songs. You can hear the singers using the tone, for example, when Spears sings "'Oh baby, baby' in her number one hit '...Baby One More Time,'" and in "the first notes of Kesha's hit 'Blah Blah Blah.'"

"My colleagues and I have noticed this speech pattern in our young female college students," remarked Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, one of the study's authors. "It is possible that these college students have either practiced or observed this vocal register and modeled it to match popular figures."

Unsurprisingly, there seems to be a solid generation gap between those who fry and those who wish the fryers would just knock it off already. As Abdelli-Beruh put it, "Anecdotally, vocal fry is judged to be annoying by those who are not as young as the college students we tested."

Are your vocals fried? Listen to this audio sample and judge for yourself!

Listen to an Example of the 'Vocal Fry' Speech Trend