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The Effect of Singers’ Masks on the Impulse Dispersion of Aerosols During Singing

Published:October 02, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.08.011

      Summary

      Background

      During the Covid-19 pandemic, singing activities were restricted due to several super-spreading events that have been observed during rehearsals and vocal performances. However, it has not been clarified how the aerosol dispersion, which has been assumed to be the leading transmission factor, could be reduced by masks which are specially designed for singers.

      Material and Methods

      Twelve professional singers (10 of the Bavarian Radio-Chorus and two freelancers, seven females and five males) were asked to sing the melody of the ode of joy of Beethoven's 9th symphony “Freude schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elisium” in D-major without masks and afterwards with five different singers’ masks, all distinctive in their material and proportions. Every task was conducted after inhaling the basic liquid from an e-cigarette. The aerosol dispersion was recorded by three high-definition video cameras during and after the task. The cloud was segmented and the dispersion was analyzed for all three spatial dimensions. Further, the subjects were asked to rate the practicability of wearing the tested masks during singing activities using a questionnaire.

      Results

      Concerning the median distances of dispersion, all masks were able to decrease the impulse dispersion of the aerosols to the front. In contrast, the dispersion to the sides and to the top was increased. The evaluation revealed that most of the subjects would reject performing a concert with any of the masks.

      Conclusion

      Although, the results exhibit that the tested masks could be able to reduce the radius of aerosol expulsion for virus-laden aerosol particles, there are more improvements necessary to enable the practical implementations for professional singing.

      Key Words

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