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J Voice. 2014 Sep;28(5):608-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.03.003. Epub 2014 May 16.

Singing voice handicap and videostrobolaryngoscopy in healthy professional singers.

Author information

1
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Department of Cell and Neurobiology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
3
Department of Music Education, Boston University School of Music, Boston, Massachusetts.
4
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.
5
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: noordzij@bu.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study correlates the Singing Voice Handicap Index (SVHI) scores with videostrobolaryngoscopy in healthy professional singers as a measure of self-perceived vocal health versus actual pathology seen on examination. The objective was to measure the strength of self-assessment among professional singers and determine if there is a benefit of combining SVHI and videostrobolaryngoscopy for routine assessment of singers without an obvious singing voice problem.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective cross-sectional study.

METHODS:

Forty-seven singers were included in the study. Singers produced spoken and sung pitches during videostrobolaryngoscopy. Examinations were blindly rated by two independent fellowship-trained laryngologists who assessed vocal fold appearance and function. The correlation between SVHI scores and total pathologic findings seen on videostrobolaryngoscopy was analyzed using linear regression and serial t tests.

RESULTS:

SVHI scores (mean of 22.45/144) were as expected for healthy singers. However, although all singers self-identified as healthy, laryngeal abnormalities were relatively common. The interrater reliability of total pathologic findings between two laryngologists was 71% (P = 0.006). Linear regression found no significant correlation (P = 0.9602) between SVHI scores and videostrobolaryngoscopy findings.

CONCLUSION:

Greater than expected laryngeal pathology was seen in these professional singers, who identified themselves as healthy, which possibly indicates a minimal impact on their singing voice and/or perception of vocal health. These findings demonstrate that laryngeal appearance alone does not dictate nor fully explain the sound or apparent health of a professional singer. Sustaining good vocal health is complex, and even experienced singers may not reliably assess the presence of pathology.

KEYWORDS:

Laryngoscopy; Professional singers; Singing; Videostrobolaryngoscopy; Vocal health; Voice; Voice handicap index

PMID:
24836361
DOI:
10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.03.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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