Baseline Vocal Health Evaluation
Studies have shown that up to 86% of singers entering an advanced program, although often asymptomatic, have abnormal laryngeal findings on videostroboscopic evaluation of the vocal folds. These have included both structural and functional changes such as: reflux tissue changes, benign vocal fold lesions, mucosal tears, vocal fold scarring, and functional irregularities including hyperfunction and muscle tension, glottic gaps, asymmetry, and aperiodicity of the vocal fold movement during voicing.
Baseline examinations, before entering a singing program, may prove beneficial for education and comparison of the instrument throughout the program and during acute voice changes. Because singers are often asymptomatic in the presence of laryngeal changes, a baseline evaluation can prevent mis-identification of causes of any future acute changes. (Myint, Calvin|Moore, Jaime Eaglin|Hu, Amanda|Jaworek, Aaron
J.|Sataloff,Robert T., 2016)
Historically, there has been a significant amount of shame associated with voice disorders in singers. Feeling shame about voice changes (“I did something wrong”) and assigning shame about voice disorders (“You should work on improving technique”) are both inappropriate and unnecessary and invites the risk of delayed identification and treatment of voice problems. Imagine if an athlete ignored or hid an injury, or more strangely, did not know how to identify a problem. Performance would suffer and the likelihood of long-term injury and direct impact on their career would increase. A physical examination for student athletes to elite athletes before training and participating in a sport is commonplace.
There is a need for a preventative approach to address vocal health and voice disorders in all singers; trained, untrained, and all genres.(Pestana, Pedro, Melo|Vaz-Freitas, Susana|Manso,Maria Conceição,
There is also agreement that there should be a close relationship between vocal coaches, students, otolaryngologists and speech-language pathologists.(Nacci et al.,2017).
Baseline vocal health presentation to NATS Northwest November 2019 - click here for handout.
Please contact me for more information on baseline vocal health evaluation.