A pilot survey of vocal health in young singers

Emily S Tepe, Ellen S Deutsch, Quiana Sampson, Stephen Lawless, James S Reilly, Robert Thayer Sataloff
Journal of Voice 2002, 16 (2): 244-50
The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of vocal problems in young choir singers and to correlate vocal problems with demographic and behavioral information. A questionnaire addressing vocal habits and hygiene was offered to 571 young choir singers, up to 25 years of age, who sing at least weekly; 129 (22.6%) responded. More than one-half of the respondents had experienced vocal difficulty, particularly older adolescents. Detrimental behaviors and circumstances surveyed were not reflective of the incidence of vocal difficulty, except for morning hoarseness, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and female gender after puberty. Voice care professionals should be aware that self-reported voice difficulties are common among young choral singers, especially postpubescent girls, and children with symptoms consistent with reflux (morning hoarseness) and emotional stress (insomnia). Laryngologists should communicate with choral conductors and singing teachers to enhance early identification and treatment of children with voice complaints, and to develop choral educational strategies that help decrease their incidence.

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