Pedro Melo PestanaSusana Vaz-FreitasMaria Conceição Manso
Published in: Journal of Voice
Publication date: March 2017
The study aimed to review the prevalence of self-reported voice disorders in singers.
The study is a systematic review and meta-analysis.
A systematic review of five major scientific databases was conducted. An extensive search strategy was used considering the rules of each database. Original articles were included only if they had data related to self-perception of dysphonia in the past. Furthermore, heterogeneity and its relative significance were assessed.
There were 2371 articles identified; duplicates were deleted, screenings were conducted, and inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. The final analysis was conducted on 11 studies. The most implemented instruments for the study were customized questionnaires. The findings about singing styles, voice use, and age were found to be different among subjects. The overall prevalence of self-reported dysphonia in singers was 46.09% (95% confidence interval: 38.16–54.12). The heterogeneity was considerable among the studied samples (I2 = 90.59%). Four groups were then established—students, teachers, classical, and nonclassical—and compared regarding overall prevalence (21.76% in students, and significantly higher and nondifferent in the other three groups, 55.15%, 40.53%, and 46.96%, respectively) and heterogeneity (low only for the students’ studies).
Although with low homogeneity, singers present a high prevalence of self-perceived dysphonia over their careers. Singing students were the group with a lower prevalence. On the other hand, traditional and popular music singers, as well as singing teachers, revealed significantly higher prevalence of self-perceived dysphonia. Overall, singers are likely to report voice disorders, no matter their singing style or skills. This highlights the need of a preventive approach to address voice disorders in traditional and untrained singers.