Effects of topical anesthetic and flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy on professional sopranos

Margaret A. Jacobs, Dianna T. Kenny*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined the acoustic and perceptual effects of topical anesthetic and flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy (FFL) against a control condition on the singing voices of ten professional sopranos. Recordings of a section of an aria, various scales, and a messa di voce exercise were obtained in the three experimental conditions. Acoustic analyses of the same aria section recorded during the three conditions were similar with respect to the distribution of energy across the spectrum (LTAS) and vibrato rate and extent. The ability of the participants to achieve their highest and lowest notes or to complete the messa di voce was also not affected by the anesthetic or FFL. Perceptual ratings of a variety of parameters by experienced singing teachers also revealed little difference across conditions with only "appropriate velopharyngeal closure" found to differ in one comparison. These results indicate that highly experienced operatic sopranos are either not affected by or appear to have the ability to compensate for the presence of anesthetic and the FFL. The most likely explanation is that this group of singers relied on a solid vocal technique. Results will need to be replicated on less accomplished singers before concluding that this medical procedure does not affect the operatic singing voice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)645-664
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Voice
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


    • Acoustic analysis
    • Anesthetic
    • Laryngoscopy
    • LTAS
    • Operatic singing
    • Perception
    • Vibrato


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