New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
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New York's Singers Hit High Notes in Free Voice Screening at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary

Part of World Voice Day Celebrations, April 16, 2009

New York, NY (April 2009) -- A rich mix of rock ’n rollers, sopranos and musical theater singers living and performing in Metro New York spent last Saturday April 4, 2009 getting a comprehensive voice check-up and a stroboscopic exam of their vocal cords at the second annual Free Voice Screening for Professional Singers, sponsored by The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and MusiCares, the foundation arm of the national Recording Academy.  

“This is the second year in a row we have found fairly extensive voice problems among professional singers, and it is proof positive there is a large unmet need for vocal care among the thousands of professional singers who make New York an entertainment capital of the world,”  said Michael Pitman, MD, director of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Voice & Swallowing Institute.  “Vocal folds are a singers’ instrument and livelihood, so getting a comprehensive voice exam is a smart way to ensure a singing career over the long term,” he said.

Asked to hit high and low notes, each singer’s vocal fold was simultaneously photographed and recorded during a thorough, half-hour assessment by one of three speech language pathologists.  Then, each singer had a private consultation with Dr. Pitman who provided them with a personalized folder of voice care recommendations that included vivid, colorful images of their vocal folds which can be used as a base line reference for future exams.   More than half of the 45 singers who came discovered they had vocal problems resulting from nodules and polyps on their vocal folds, atrophy, muscle tension dysphonia or acid reflux.  

Included in each singer’s take-home packet was a voice conservation tip sheet, which is applicable to singers of all stripes, including those who just sing for fun.  The tips: don’t smoke, eliminate frequent throat clearing, drink lots of water, control vocal loudness, avoid excessive amounts of talking and give in to laryngitis (don’t force your voice to override the hoarseness). 

The professional singers ranged from a soprano who will sing the part of Marguerite in Faust in Brooklyn this summer, to a pop-rock singer and producer in Brooklyn, to a musical theater singer who toured upstate New York last summer to an American Idol finalist.   

The free voice screening is one of many events being held nationally in celebration of  World Voice Day on April 16, 2009, sponsored by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.  KayPentax, a medical instrument company, also helped sponsor the local voice screening event.

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A Few of the Many Faces from the Free Voice Screening

A few of the many faces of World Glaucoma Day A few of the many faces of World Glaucoma Day

A singer in musical theater reads a document to voice therapist Sarah Chutiangtong, in preparation for voice testing. 

Dr. Pitman explains the workings of the vocal folds to young opera singer.

A few of the many faces of World Glaucoma Day A few of the many faces of World Glaucoma Day

Singer and producer of pop-rock was among some 40 members of New York’s show business community at the screening.

An operatic soprano discusses with Dr. Michael Pitman the stroboscopic image of her vocal folds.

Media Information

If you are a reporter seeking an interview with a doctor at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, please contact Jean Thomas, at (212) 979-4274 or jthomas@nyee.edu.

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