OBJECTIVE: Abnormalities in the mucosal lining of the vocal folds may interfere with the normal vibratory patterns and result in vocal limitations, especially for singers whose demands are great. A prospective, longitudinal study was undertaken to investigate the incidence of laryngeal abnormalities in asymptomatic singing students. METHODS: Sixty-five singing students at the school of music underwent videostroboscopic evaluation and completed a comprehensive questionnaire. Videos were rated by 3 experienced clinicians, and interrater reliability was calculated. Results were correlated with demographic factors, background medical history, and singing history. RESULTS: Five students (8.3%) exhibited early signs of benign vocal fold lesions (2 with nodules and 3 with cysts). A high incidence of posterior erythema (n = 44; 73.4%), suggesting possible reflux, was found. CONCLUSIONS: A surprisingly high number of otherwise asymptomatic singing students demonstrated abnormal laryngeal findings. Their relationship with vocal performance will be addressed as well as implications for preventative measures.
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