Voice disorders in actors

Michael Z. Lerner, Boris Paskhover, Lynn Acton, Nwanmegha Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of vocal pathology among first-year acting students. Study Design A retrospective review of 30 first-year graduate-level drama students between 2009 and 2011 was performed. Methods Stroboscopy, Voice Handicap Index-10 questionnaires, and acoustic measures were analyzed. Results The prevalence of incomplete glottal closure, laryngeal hyperfunction, and decreased mucosal wave was 62%, 59%, and 55%, respectively. Laryngoscopic findings consistent with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) were demonstrated in 48% of subjects. Subgroup analysis of laryngeal hyperfunctioning (HF) and nonhyperfunctioning drama students revealed an increased prevalence of all videostroboscopic abnormalities in the HF group. The increased prevalence of LPR stigmata in HF actors reached statistical significance (P = 0.04). Conclusions The vocal demands of actors are unique, requiring the effective use of volume, pitch control, and endurance. This is the first study that systematically analyzes the prevalence of vocal pathology in actors. This study will continue throughout their education, anticipating that our feedback along with their vocal training will improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-708
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Actors
  • Drama
  • Laryngeal hyperfunction
  • Laryngology
  • Professional voice
  • Speech language pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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