One of the biggest findings of my thesis on the Dysphonia Treatment Seeking and Hygiene Practices of Professional Singers was that singers with a history of voice disorder based most of their hygiene and treatment practices off the advice of a medical professional while those without relied on the advice of voice instructors and colleagues. Also worth noting, less than 10% of singers reported relying on articles they had read for the source of their hygiene and treatment regimen. And I was struck with the question, how do we get out the tried-and-true injury prevention methods to people without a voice disorder so they never develop a voice disorder?
There are numerous professional organizations for the purpose of training and maintaining the competency of voice teachers (Pan-American Vocology Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, American Academy for Teachers of Singing, Voice and Speech Trainers Association, to name a few), but I know I never considered researching if my voice teachers were members of these organizations. Voice hygiene easily falls to the back burner when voice lessons must also address the singer's current vocal functioning, warm up exercises, and rehearsal of new material. In fact, in the 15 years of voice lessons I’ve had, only one voice teacher used a session to talk about voice hygiene. One. [shout out to Jennifer Loftus who now practices in MAUI because she is living her best life]. But it brings me back to the whole reason we’re here. Let’s keep more singers healthy.
Have you had a voice teacher who has addressed voice hygiene with you? What are the most valuable things you learned?