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The Impact of Vocal and Laryngeal Pathologies Among Professional Singers: A Meta-analysis

  • Michelle Kwok
    Affiliations
    The Whiteley-Martin Research Centre, Discipline of Surgery, Sydney Medical School, Nepean Hospital, The University of Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Guy D. Eslick
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Guy D. Eslick, Discipline of Surgery, The Whiteley-Martin Research Centre, Nepean Hospital, The University of Sydney, Level 3, Clinical Building, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.
    Affiliations
    The Whiteley-Martin Research Centre, Discipline of Surgery, Sydney Medical School, Nepean Hospital, The University of Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for articles by this author

      Summary

      Objective

      Professional singers are more likely to develop laryngeal pathologies and symptoms associated with misuse and overuse of the voice. However, different studies have shown conflicting evidence. We aim to perform a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis to determine the prevalence and risk of laryngeal pathologies and symptoms among professional singers.

      Methods

      Four electronic databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL) were searched, with no language restrictions. From 3368 potential studies, a total of 21 studies met our inclusion criteria. A systematic review of the literature was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. All cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies that reported the risk of laryngeal pathologies in singers were included. Data were pooled by a random effects model and the pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

      Results

      There was a positive relationship between singing and laryngeal pathologies. There was an increased risk of hoarseness (OR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.61–2.49), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.19–1.77), Reinke edema (OR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.08–4.30), and polyps (OR: 2.10, 95% CI: 1.06–4.14) in professional singers.

      Conclusion

      Professional singers are at an increased risk of laryngeal pathologies and symptoms associated with vocal misuse and overuse, particularly hoarseness, GERD, edema, and polyps.

      Key Words

      Level of Evidence

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