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J Voice. 2011 Jul;25(4):505-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2010.01.015. Epub 2010 Apr 29.

Incidence and predisposing factors of common upper respiratory tract infections in vocal students during their professional training.

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Vocal-Instrumental Department, Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice, Poland.



Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are among the major causes of dysphonia. There are only scarce data available on the incidence and predisposing factors of URTI in young singers, in particular, during a period of intense voice training.


The data were obtained from medical records and a 43-item questionnaire distributed among 94 students of the vocal faculty (66 females and 28 males-age: 23.5±3.7 years) at all levels of their studies. The questions were divided into several categories, that is, personal, anthropometric, demographic, history of vocal education, and both general and singer-specific health risk factors.


The rate of URTI showed a steady decrease during vocal studies. The strongest factor predisposing to infections in the multivariate regression model was nonadherence to vocal hygiene. There was also a weak protective effect of a regular holiday rest and negative effect of allergy. The prevalence of several recognized risk factors of URTI was exceptionally high in the group of vocal students, for example, passive smoking (42.5%), poor dental status (39.4%), frequent gastric complaints (44.7%), and allergy (50%).


Despite the persistence of many risk factors throughout the vocal studies, the frequency of URTI significantly decreases most likely because of vocal hygiene education and growing professional experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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