Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.Medical Problems of Performing Artists

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Physical Examination for Voice Patients

Robert T. Sataloff
From: Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.: Chapter 7 © 2010; page: 121

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Abstract: Physical examination of the singer with a voice problem must include a thorough ear, nose, and throat evaluation and assessment of general physical condition. Any physical condition that impairs the normal function of the abdominal musculature is suspect as a cause for dysphonia, and maladies of almost any body system may result in voice dysfunction. If the patient uses his or her voice professionally, physical examination should also include assessment of the patient performing typical professional vocal tasks. Laryngeal examination can include indirect laryngoscopy and endoscopy. Objective assessment of voice function may involve techniques such as strobovideolaryngoscopy (to determine fundamental frequency, symmetry, periodicity, and amplitude of vocal fold vibrations) as well as measures of phonatory ability (frequency range, fundamental frequency, glottal efficiency), aerodynamic measures (via spirometry, flow glottography, pneumotachography), and acoustic analysis with spectrography or voice analysis programs. The chapter provides a detailed description of the evaluation process for the singer, including assessment of physical stance and abdominal support as well as vocal technique.

Last Updated: 5 / 2010

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