What is a Vocal Professional?
A vocal professional is any person whose voice is essential to their profession or occupation. This includes a wide range of professions, including singers, actors, teachers, fitness instructors, lecturers, courtroom attorneys, boardroom executives, clinicians, and many others who rely on their voice to perform their essential job duties. Often, vocal professionals use their voice heavily in their daily work, and may at times place excessive demands on their voice, placing them at risk to a variety of vocal injuries.
Vocal Professionals Are at a Higher Risk of Larynx Injuries
Your voice box, medically known as the larynx, is made up of muscles, joints, ligaments, nerves, and cartilage, which all work in concert to produce the wide array of sounds and tones we know of as the voice. Just like other parts of the body, overuse or misuse of the voice without proper warm up and cool down, without adequate rest periods, or with sub-optimal technique places the larynx at risk for injuries.
Due to the intensity and extent of voice use, as well as the high-pressure environments that they often work in, vocal professionals are at higher risk of developing larynx-related injuries. Professional voice users may feel pressure to continue to perform at their peak level even after noticing subtle voice symptoms, and all too often will only seek care once their voice problem becomes significant enough that their ability to perform at the necessary level is impacted. At this point, the vocal professional will usually require a period of vocal rest and/or rehabilitation to ensure proper recovery, and in some cases they may even need medical or surgical intervention. This means a potential disruption of their work, sometimes even needing to cancel events, performances, or presentations. A period of extended leave from work may even be necessary before adequate recovery can take place.
This is where the Preventative Vocal Health Visit comes in.
What’s Involved in a Preventative Vocal Health Visit?
During a Preventative Vocal Health Visit, Dr. Rafii will perform a Comprehensive Voice Evaluation, with a specific focus on injury prevention. During your visit with Dr. Rafii, he will:
- Perform a Baseline Videostroboscopy Exam—Videostroboscopy is a non-invasive technique to view the structure and function of the vocal cords at high resolution, providing a detailed view of the structures in your voice box that are the direct source of sound production. A baseline videostroboscopy examination of the vocal cords is performed before any issues arise. This allows us to have a reference point for how your vocal cords look when your voice is functioning well, and also allows us to identify any potential issues that are brewing but have not yet begun to cause problems.
- Assess what your unique professional vocal demands are—Each vocal professional has their own set of vocal demands that are required from their career. Dr. Rafii will work with you in detail to identify how you use your voice at work, and specific areas of your work in which your voice may be at risk.
- Identify habits or practices that may be placing your voice at risk—Dr. Rafii will help you identify what current habits you’re implementing that may be stressing or damaging your voice in the long run.
- Discuss strategies to keep your voice healthy and prevent overuse injuries—Dr. Rafii will work with you to help you develop strategies for how to continue using your voice to meet all of your professional demands while keeping it healthy and preventing injuries.
- Provide you with the confidence to keep performing at optimal levels—With knowledge comes confidence. By the time you’re done with your Preventative Vocal Health Visit with Dr. Rafii, you should be much more aware of some of the negative habits that can affect your voice, as well as best practices for healthy voice us. You’ll worry less about vocal injuries, and be able to continue to use your voice at the level you need with the confidence that you are keeping it healthy and safe.
When Should You Schedule a Preventative Vocal Health Visit?
If you are a vocal professional, we encourage you to schedule a Preventative Vocal Health Visit with Dr. Rafii as soon as possible and before any voice issues arise. We also highly encourage you to schedule a yearly voice check-up to ensure your voice is staying healthy and performing at its peak. If you are a performing artist, it is especially important to consider a Preventative Vocal Health Visit before going on tour, a big show, or a heavy recording session.
To learn more about Preventative Vocal Health Visits, or to schedule an appointment, visit Dr. Rafii’s website, or call his office at 323.433.7744.