To examine the effects of short-term and long-term engagement with structured choral singing on vocal function and quality of life outcomes in older adults.
Two groups of older adult singers over 55 years, one with fewer than 4 semesters and one with 4 or more semesters singing in a chorale, were assessed at 3 time points: baseline, after 1 semester of singing, and either after 1 semester of rest or after 1 semester of rest and 1 semester more of singing. Acoustic and aerodynamic measures, voice-related quality of life ratings, and measures of singing accuracy were obtained. Percent change between time points were calculated to determine three outcomes: improvement, lack of change, or worsening of measures across time.
Long-term average spectrum (LTAS), difference in first and second harmonics and estimated subglottic pressure were significantly more likely to improve after a semester of singing with less experience singers, and LTAS continued to improve after a semester of rest. Flow was significantly more likely to improve with more singing experience after a semester of singing. Aerodynamic variables consistently changed in more experienced singers and improvement was maintained over the three visits. No significant changes occurred over time for singing accuracy for any singer type. Self-perception of singing voice continued to improve with more singing experience.
This study demonstrated that for older adults in good health, regular singing provided a mechanism for maintaining speaking voice over time.
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Published online: March 30, 2023
Accepted: February 15, 2023
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
Funding: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported in part by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health (K23DC014517 to AMJ).
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