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Airway Reactivity Induced Reversible Voice Dysfunction in Singers

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As the power source for vocalization, the lower respiratory tract plays a key role in voice production. This is particularly true with sustained singing, where continued high ventilatory demands are present. Changes in pulmonary function that are insignificant with normal speech have been shown to lead to performance impairment. The purpose of this study was to examine and characterize this problem in a large group of singers. Systematic evaluation of a defined population, along with inhalational and singing challenge, was the design. The demographic characteristics, history, pulmonary, function, and response to treatment were evaluated in 20 professional or serious amateur singers with voice problems, who did not have causal laryngeal pathology, whose history and evaluation suggested increased airway reactivity, and who responded to anti-asthma therapy. An additional patient was challenged by the exercise of singing in the office, with pulmonary function measurements before and after. This group of serious singers demonstrated vocalization complaints referable to bronchodilator responsive airway obstruction. They responded to treatment for asthma, with improvement in their performance-related difficulties. An additional subject demonstrated a small decline in expiratory flow rates with only 20 minutes of singing in the office. This was readily reversed by an inhaled bronchodilator. Singers who present with complaints of impaired vocalization, such as vocal fatigue, decreased control, and excessive muscular tension, should be evaluated for increased airway reactivity as a possible cause of their complaints.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1997

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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