Singing has been thought to be protective against the development of voice disorders in
children; however, there have been few studies evaluating this. In this cohort study,
investigators analyzed data from 752 singing and 743 non-singing children and conducted
instrumental voice analysis for all patients in order to examine whether there was any
association between singing and the odds of diagnosis of a voice disorder. Children in the
singing group, age 8-14 years, were selected from local children’s choirs. Investigators found that 23.9% of children had a voice disorder (95% CI 21.5% to 26.2%). Of those diagnosed with a voice disorder, 67.3% were non-singing (95% CI 62.5% to 72.2%). Voice disorders were more common in the non-singing group than the singing group (32.4% vs. 15.6%, difference 16.8%, 95% CI 12.3% to 21.4%). In comparing the prevalence of functional and organic voice disorders, specifically, researchers also noted increased frequencies of both types of voice disorders in participants from the non-singing group when compared to the singing group. The results from this study suggest that singing during childhood may be protective against the diagnosis of voice disorders. It should be noted that this study used survey responses, which could have been affected by the replies and understanding of respondents. Instrumental voice analysis may have also been affected by whether children understood and correctly followed instructions.
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