The Impact of a Teaching or Singing Career on the Female Vocal Quality at the Mean Age of 67 Years: A Pilot Study

J Voice. 2017 Jul;31(4):516.e19-516.e26. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.12.016. Epub 2017 Feb 7.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to measure the objective and subjective vocal quality in women aged between 60 and 75 years. Secondly, the impact of a teaching or singing career on the vocal quality was investigated by comparing the vocal quality of retired women with different careers.

Study design: This is a case-control study.

Methods: Seventy-three retired women between 60 and 75 years (mean age: 67 years, standard deviation: 4.49) participated in the study and were divided into three groups: women with a teaching career (n = 21), choir singers with a singing career (n = 12), and women with a non-vocal career (n = 40). All subjects underwent the same assessment protocol consisting of objective (aerodynamic, maximum performance, vocal range, acoustic measurements, and the Dysphonia Severity Index) and subjective (the Voice Handicap Index, auditory-perceptual evaluations by three listeners) voice measurements.

Results: In all three groups, objective and perceptual voice analysis showed a mild dysphonia. No differences in the Dysphonia Severity Index were found between the three groups. The voices of choir singers with a singing career were perceived significantly less rough than voices of the women with a non-vocal career. Additionally, the lowest frequency of the frequency range was significantly lower in the retired teachers and choir singers than in the controls.

Conclusion: The results of this study prudently suggest that a singing or a teaching career compared with a non-vocal career has a positive impact on the vocal frequency range, and that singing has a positive impact on the perceptual vocal quality of the older female voice.

Keywords: Aging; Careers; Singing; Teaching; Voice.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Singing*
  • Voice Quality*