The Young Voice: Vocal Training, Health and Pathology Young voices have unique complexities and delicacies that make them exciting, challenging, and hazardous to care for. Their special problems are of interest to physicians, voice teachers, and speech-language pathologists. Arts medicine literature has shown interest in aging voices, but papers on the young voice have been less frequent ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2002
The Young Voice: Vocal Training, Health and Pathology
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert Thayer Sataloff
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Graduate Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2002
The Young Voice: Vocal Training, Health and Pathology
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 3-4. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.3-a
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 3-4. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.3-a
Young voices have unique complexities and delicacies that make them exciting, challenging, and hazardous to care for. Their special problems are of interest to physicians, voice teachers, and speech-language pathologists. Arts medicine literature has shown interest in aging voices, but papers on the young voice have been less frequent and less expert than desirable. The optimal time to begin vocal training, the age at which voice therapy is effective, the appropriate use of pediatric phonomicrosurgery for benign lesions, and many other subjects remain controversial. Issues of voice use and training during puberty are especially problematic. In addition to problems of voice use and abuse, children are subject to most of the vocal health problems that occur in adults, including those caused by systemic disease. Congenital anomalies, neurologic dysfunction, benign and malignant vocal fold masses, respiratory dysfunction, allergy, endocrine dysfunction, laryngopharyngeal reflux, psychological disorders, and other conditions all may be responsible for dysphonia in the pediatric population. They require specialized evaluation and intervention techniques by a skilled voice team in order to optimize outcome. Voice development is discussed in numerous standard speech-language pathology textbooks and other sources, but many basic, practical questions remain unanswered. It is important for all professionals who train and care for singers to understand as much as possible about the growth and development of the voice and to understand clearly anatomic and physiologic differences among children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Such knowledge should lead to optimal training and minimal risk of vocal injury.
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