Singing, a good exercise for maintaining speech quality

Pascale Tremblay

Singing, at any age, can improve accuracy and speed of elocution during complex tasks.

By : Jean Hamann (translation by CERVO)

Talking is an exercise that requires a great deal of coordination between the lungs and the muscles that control the vocal cords, jaw, tongue and lips. As the years go by, these anatomical structures undergo changes that affect vocal function. Fortunately, there may be a simple and enjoyable way of acquiring and preserving speech quality, suggests a study by a team at Université Laval's École des sciences de la réadaptation. All you have to do is sing in a group, says the team in a study published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Professor Pascale Tremblay's team demonstrated this by studying various voice and speech components in 78 people aged between 20 and 88. Forty of the participants were involved in activities that involved their motor and cognitive skills, but had nothing to do with singing or music. The 38 other participants had been singing in a group for 3 hours or more each week for at least 5 years.

Considering the amount of time they devoted to singing, they could be regarded as vocal athletes," says Professor Tremblay. Our hypothesis was that this sustained training could have a positive impact on the motor components of speech, given that the same structures are used for singing and speaking. We also wanted to check whether singing could have a protective effect against the decline in the motor processes of speech that occurs with age".

The results of the tests conducted at the CERVO Brain Research Centre's Speech and Hearing Neuroscience Laboratory partly confirm this hypothesis.

Read the full story on the ULaval Nouvelles website

Read the research publication in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research:

Tremblay P, Gagnon L, Roy JP, Arseneault A. Speech Production in Healthy Older Adults With or Without Amateur Singing Experience. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2023 Nov 9;66(11):4332-4352. doi: 10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00126. Epub 2023 Oct 23. PMID: 37870784.

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