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A Vocal Athlete Needs a Vocal Health Team Series

Part II

This week we continue our series discussing the importance of having a vocal health team for yourself or any other vocal athletes in your life. In this week's edition we'll be covering what to look for in your voice care team.

As a vocal athlete, you deserve the expertise that a specialized medical voice care team can provide, and you owe it to your instrument to get the best care. 

Your vocal health team should include a laryngologist. That’s an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor with specialized training in voice. In the US, the laryngologist completes a 5 year residency in ENT after medical school and then an additional year of fellowship in laryngology or voice. ENT (also called otolaryngology) is a surgical specialty, but it’s a fairly broad specialty, spanning nose and sinus problems, head and neck cancer, ear and hearing problems, facial plastics and reconstruction, and pediatric ENT problems, among others. A general ENT doctor may not have the level of experience and expertise you need as a vocal athlete. It’s worth the extra effort to look for a fellowship trained laryngologist



Another important vocal health team member is a voice specialized speech-language pathologist (SLP). In the US, a SLP who works with voice disorders should have their Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC–SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and should be licensed by the state in which they practice (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2016; The Voice Foundation, 2023). Speech-language pathology is also a broad field, and training in the evaluation and treatment of voice disorders is typically a very small part of the academic program. In many graduate speech-language pathology programs, students have a single course in voice disorders (sometimes only a half-semester course), which may be a required or elective course. Practical clinical experience may be limited to a single case, and some students complete their graduate program with no hands-on clinical experience in voice at all.

For this reason, it is essential that the SLP on the voice care team is someone with specialization in voice beyond the minimum requirements. This specialization can be accomplished by seeking clinical internship experiences at a voice care center as part of graduate training, through a clinical fellowship experience in voice disorders, and through continuing education. SLPs with extensive training and experience in voice problems are sometimes called voice therapists, although there is no formal designation for this title.

In some cases, the voice specialized SLP also has extensive experience as a professional singer and singing teacher, and this is the ideal person to work with the vocal athlete who is experiencing voice problems. This person is sometimes referred to as a clinical singing voice specialist, although again, there is no formal designation for this title.

Depending on the specific problems they are having, the vocal athlete may need other professionals to help get their voices back on track. This might include an allergist, gastrointestinal (GI) doctor, physical therapist, neurologist, psychologist, or others. The medical voice team can help connect the vocal athlete with appropriate providers. 

So, when you’re looking for a team to help you with your voice, make sure you ask if they meet the requirements outlined above to make sure your voice gets the specialized attention it needs!

Next week, we’ll explore what happens in a voice evaluation.

Signing off for now,
Your SonoVoice Team


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016). Scope of practice in speech-language pathology [Scope of Practice].

Scearce, L. (2024). Multidisciplinary Care of the Vocal Athlete. In W. LeBorgne and M. Rosenberg (Eds.), The Vocal Athlete. 3rd Edition. Plural Inc. 

The Voice Foundation. (2023). Voice care team.

Next Week: A Vocal Athlete Needs a Vocal Health Team Part III

You are a vocal athlete!

Athletes put superhuman demands on the human body. They practice to stay in shape, get better and prepare for the event. No athlete expects to perform at their best without working on their technique, practicing skills, and preparing for the game. 

The same goes for you as a vocal athlete. Practice will help you be prepared for your event: performance. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut! If you want to be at your best as a singer, you’ll need to establish a regular vocal exercise and practice regimen.

In our weekly Vocal Fitness Friday email, SonoVoice's team of experts in science-based voice training  will be sharing information about how the voice works, tips on keeping your voice healthy, and ideas for vocal exercises for peak vocal fitness.