Some people are particularly at risk for developing a voice disorder because of certain health problems, habits or voice use.
Among the most frequently seen professions with voice disorders are teachers, attorneys, sales representatives, receptionists, technical support and customer service personnel.
In addition to these professions which demand a great deal of voice use, there are people who use their voice in noisy environments. These include restaurant workers, factor or machine shop workers, and police officers.
Professional singers and actors form a special category of voice users for whom even minor vocal problems can be devastating. The subtlety of their symptoms and their demanding performance and rehearsal schedules create special challenges in diagnosis and treatment. The Institute is especially interested in working with performing artists to remedy and prevent voice problems.
Vocal Fatigue & Stamina
Vocal fatigue, or impaired vocal stamina, is frequently experienced by individuals with high vocal demands, such as teachers. It is characterized by a sense of increased effort or strain when talking, accompanied by decreased vocal capabilities, such as decreased loudness or quality.
Vocal fatigue occurs when the vocal demands are greater than the individual's ability to manage those demands. That ability may be due to insufficient training in how to use the voice in challenging conditions (loud voice production, or for prolonged periods of time) for example. Or it may mean the ability of the vocal fold tissue to withstand prolonged micro-trauma. Everyone experiences vocal fatigue on occasion; for example, spending an evening at a noisy party talking with friends can cause vocal fatigue.
When vocal fatigue occurs with increasing frequency, however, it can cause an individual to begin to use muscle activity strategies that promote unhealthy vocal fold tissues, leading to greater voice problems.