Mitigating Dysphonia, Pain, and Vocal Handicap after Violent Video Game Voice Overs: A Pilot Investigation into Vocal Combat Technique Training

  • Katelyn Reid
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Katelyn Reid, University of Cincinnati, 3113 Bellevue Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219.
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Victoria S. McKenna
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • D'Arcy Smith
    Undergraduate Department of Acting, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
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      to investigate how the Vocal Combat Technique (VCT) may mitigate vocal symptoms in voice over actors using vocal violence.


      Five voice over actors (3 male, 2 females, Mean = 29.6 years) completed two study sessions of 45 minutes-to-1 hour of vocally violent voice over work held approximately 4 weeks apart. During session one, participants completed voice over work as they typically would, whereas they received 3-hours of VCT training to improve/assist in healthy vocal techniques prior to session two. Pre- and post-session measures for both sessions included self-perceptual ratings of vocal symptoms, auditory-perceptual evaluation, and traditional acoustic measures of frequency and perturbation.


      Participants showed substantial mitigating effects of VCT training on acoustic perturbation measures (jitter, shimmer, harmonics-to-noise ratio), and self-ratings of vocal symptoms (Vocal-Handicap Index-10, McGill Pain Scale for vocal discomfort, and Evaluation of the Ability to Sing Easily) with calculated medium to large effect sizes (d = 0.61–1.95). There were no changes in auditory perceptual ratings across sessions.


      Our pilot investigation yielded positive improvements in vocal symptomology in five voice over actors who were trained in VCT. Next steps should include a larger enrollment of voice actors to determine optimal preventative and recovery techniques.

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