The vocal symptoms and habits of professional voice users
T. Van Overmeiren , I. Meerschman , E. D’haeseleer , K. Van Lierde
Ghent University (Master in Medicine); Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium; Department of Speech-Language Pathology andAudiology, University of Pretoria, South- Africa
Professional voice users; elite vocal performers; vocal symptoms; vocal habits; vocal hygiene
271 - 280
The vocal symptoms and habits of professional voice users. Background/Aim: Professional voice users are a heterogeneous group of professionals at risk of developing vocal problems throughout their careers. Although this population is generally known to be at risk due to high vocal demands, limited is known about the vocal hygiene knowledge, and the occurrence of vocal symptoms. This risk is influenced by personal habits and other factors. The purpose of this study was to assess these factors and detect potential differences between subgroups of professional voice users, specifically teachers, professional actors, and student musical theater actors. Material and methods: Forty-nine participants (17 teachers, 19 actors, and 13 student actors) were included in this study through convenience sampling. Questionnaires were used to evaluate vocal hygiene, habits, symptoms, and influencing factors in each group. Results: The questionnaires revealed an overall high prevalence of vocally violent behaviour in all three subgroups, with a higher occurrence in the student actors. Vocal complaints were present in each subgroup, and more vocal tract discomfort was reported relative to non-professional voice users described in other studies. The mean VHI score was 10.16, with a score of 9.94 for the teachers, 6.53 for the actors, and 15.77 for the student actors. Conclusion: There is a lack of vocal hygiene among professional voice users. Vocally abusive habits and an adverse occupational environment are major risk factors for the development of dysphonia, with potentially devastating consequences. More attention must be paid to the prevention of voice disorders in these populations.
Vol. 14, 2018, 4th trimester

The vocal symptoms and habits of professional voice users