Professional voice users
Who are professional voice users?
It is individuals who rely on their voices to be the major part of their occupation. This includes teachers, salespeople, coaches, politicians, broadcasters, singers, actors, and numerous other professionals. These individuals are directly dependent on vocal communication for their livelihood. Their voice demands and overall quantity of voice use are often higher than others. The impact of a voice disorder in this population not only causes negative vocal symptoms, but carries high levels of emotional strain and anxiety. Without their voices, these individuals can no longer perform the duties required.
Singers and actors:
Most singers, at some point or other, have experienced voice difficulties for various reasons. Singers and actors are a lot like athletes. Athletes, because of the physical nature of their work, are at greater risk than most people for developing muscular and joint injuries. Likewise, singers and actors who are dependent on their voices, demand more from them than the average speaker, use their voices more frequently, and are thus at greater risk for developing laryngeal pathologies.
Vocal abuse and misuse behaviours can cause phonotrauma, which may lead to mild laryngeal irritation and/or swelling (edema) all the way up to laryngeal pathology. The effect on the speaking and singing voice depends on the degree, nature of the vocal injury, and the duration of impact of phonotraumatic behaviours on the microstructure of the vocal folds and their vibratory function.
“Performing beautifully year after year is not only a matter of what you do onstage, but what you do off-stage as well”. – Watt A. Backstage. Lincoln Center. Public Broadcasting System, 1994
It is important that the professional voice user will become responsible for the well-being of his or her vocal health. One way to maintain vocal health, is for the singer to care for their instrument before and after a performance; and increase hydration. Changes in lubrication can affect the vocal folds and the oral cavity. Thick, dry mucus or secretions at the larynx cause the vocal folds to have intermittent instability as the mucus approaches the vocal fold edge.