Studies Show Women at Higher Risk for Vocal Problems

Studies Show Women at Higher Risk for Vocal Problems

Studies have found that approximately 10% more women than men, regardless of their occupation, have reported vocal issues that have lasted more than four weeks. They also make up the majority of several high-voice-use occupations (e.g., public school teachers, call center workers).

A recent in-depth review of gender physiological differences suggests potential reasons for this disparity.  This review was written by NCVS and affiliated researchers, and was published in Logopedics, Phoniatrics, and Vocology.  Differences between men and women that may be important factors in vocal health are discussed. Among these are differences in the laryngeal system, respiratory system (e.g., breathing mechanism, breath support) and endocrine system (e.g., general hormone differences, cyclic hormone variations), as well as perceptual differences (e.g., pain thresholds, general body awareness).

The authors conclude that more information is needed to better understand and treat women who currently suffer from vocal health issues.

Vocal health of occupational voice users is a significant issue. Nearly one quarter of the U.S. workforce, or approximately 37 million individuals, depends on a healthy, versatile voice as a tool for their profession. These are individuals who, in the event of the loss of vocal endurance and/or voice quality, would be unable to perform their primary job responsibility. These occupational voice users include, but are not limited to, teachers, counselors, emergency dispatchers, air traffic controllers, performers and telephone workers.

For additional information, see the full article by Eric J Hunter, Kristine Tanner, Marshall E Smith entitled “Gender differences affecting vocal health of women in vocally demandingcareers”, published in Logopedics, Phoniatrics, Vocology 2011 July.

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