Voice Therapy Expectations for Injured Singers

Lesley F. Childs, Alexandra D'Oto, Amy Harris, Ashwin Rao, Ted Mau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: Voice therapy is a mainstay treatment modality in the management of phonotrauma in singers. However, the typical duration of therapy an injured singer undergoes is unknown. The primary aims of the study were to determine (1) the number of therapy sessions preceding a decision for surgery and (2) the number of sessions and length of time to achieve improvement in singers who did not undergo surgery. Whether specific singer factors were associated with the length of therapy was also investigated. Study Design: Retrospective. Methods: Records of singers with phonotraumatic vocal fold lesions seen over a 9-year period at a tertiary care voice center were reviewed. Results: Sixty singers who underwent surgery and 183 singers who did not undergo surgery were included in the final analysis. In nearly ¾ of the surgical patients, five or fewer voice therapy sessions were completed prior to the decision for surgery. Singers who did not undergo surgery required on average 3-4 sessions before noting improvement. Over 60% of the non-surgical singers improved within 3 months and 84% were judged to be improved by 6 months. Lesion type, professional/amateur status, formal voice training, and having a current voice teacher/coach were not associated with the length of voice therapy. Conclusions: The length of voice therapy prior to decision for surgery was limited, and so was the length of therapy leading to initial improvement in singers who did not require surgery. These findings provide a framework for voice therapy expectations and could be reassuring for this unique population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Voice
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Benign vocal fold lesion
  • Phonotrauma
  • Singer
  • Vocal fold surgery
  • Voice therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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