December 28, 2013

Beatboxing Protective of the Vocal Cords?

Beatboxing is a popular vocal percussion technique that incorporates use of the entire vocal tract. Recently, research by Dr. Steven Simms (who I had the pleasure of working with briefly when we were both at Yale University in the 1990s) suggested that beatboxing techniques may actually protect against vocal cord injury.

Unlike singing where most of the sustained energy is directed at the vocal cord level, beatboxing makes extensive use of the entire vocal tract, especially the muscles of the throat.

Although more research is needed, it is not inconceivable that beatboxing techniques may potentially be helpful to patients who have suffered from vocal cord injury. The question is what techniques specifically and how it can be incorporated into voice therapy sessions. Furthermore, such vocal techniques may be more "acceptable" to teenagers who may scoff at more traditional strategies.

Check out this fiberoptic laryngoscopy video of a beatboxing artist.

Functional Endoscopic Analysis of Beatbox Performers. Journal of Voice. Published Online 12/23/13. PII: S0892-1997(13)00243-9 doi:10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.11.007

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Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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