3 years ago

A Preliminary Study of Vocal Health Among Collegiate A Cappella Singers

Brandon J. Baird, Tara E. Mokhtari, C. Kwang Sung, Elizabeth Erickson-direnzo

Publication date: Available online 12 November 2018

Source: Journal of Voice

Author(s): Brandon J. Baird, Tara E. Mokhtari, C. Kwang Sung, Elizabeth Erickson-DiRenzo


Collegiate a cappella groups have grown significantly in popularity and prominence; however, there have been few studies that evaluate the vocal health of this subgroup of young singers. The objective of this preliminary study was to conduct a multiparametric evaluation of the vocal health characteristics of a sample of collegiate a cappella singers. We further tested whether differences in vocal health assessments exist between a cappella singers with and without vocal training and trained collegiate singers who do not participate in a cappella groups.

Study design

Point prevalence study.


Forty-one collegiate singers participated in this study. Participants were divided into the following three groups: trained singers (TS), trained a cappella singers (ATS), and untrained a cappella singers (AUS). Participants were administered a set of surveys to assess self-perception of singing voice health and perceived access and attitudes toward voice-related health care. Acoustic and laryngoscopic assessments of participant's speaking and singing voice was performed and validated vocal health questionnaires administered as a means to objectively evaluate for the presence of voice problems.


Overall, 87.5% of the ATS and 60% of the AUS groups reported experiencing problems with their singing voice. However, no vocal abnormalities were detected during laryngoscopic and acoustic assessments. Furthermore, minimal differences between any of the measured vocal health parameters were observed between the TS, ATS, and AUS groups.


Collectively, a high percentage of collegiate a cappella singers with and without vocal training report singing voice problems. However, our sample of a cappella singers did not have increased singing voice problems as compared to vocally trained collegiate singers not in a cappella groups. We did find that a cappella singers may be more inclined to seek information about maintaining a healthy singing voice from their fellow musicians as opposed to singing teachers or other voice health professionals. Singing teachers, otolaryngologists, and speech-language pathologists may need to play a more active role in educating a cappella singers regarding maintaining good vocal health.

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