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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999 Jul;121(1):69-77.

Incidence of abnormal laryngeal findings in asymptomatic singing students.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and the School of Music, University of Miami, Florida, USA.



Abnormalities in the mucosal lining of the vocal folds may interfere with the normal vibratory patterns and result in vocal limitations, especially for singers whose demands are great. A prospective, longitudinal study was undertaken to investigate the incidence of laryngeal abnormalities in asymptomatic singing students.


Sixty-five singing students at the school of music underwent videostroboscopic evaluation and completed a comprehensive questionnaire. Videos were rated by 3 experienced clinicians, and interrater reliability was calculated. Results were correlated with demographic factors, background medical history, and singing history.


Five students (8.3%) exhibited early signs of benign vocal fold lesions (2 with nodules and 3 with cysts). A high incidence of posterior erythema (n = 44; 73.4%), suggesting possible reflux, was found.


A surprisingly high number of otherwise asymptomatic singing students demonstrated abnormal laryngeal findings. Their relationship with vocal performance will be addressed as well as implications for preventative measures.

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