WARREN H. GARDNER, Ph.D.
Department of Otolaryngology, Audiology and Speech Pathology Section
STRAIN and tension are widely recognized as affecting functions of the human nervous system. Communication by speech is a synthesis of functions whose finely balanced co-ordinations are easily disturbed by stimuli from the autonomic and sympathetic nervous systems. The business executive is exceptionally vulnerable to the development of functional vocal disorders. His work is accomplished by various means of oral communication — dictation, conferences, conversations by telephone — and strain and tension are inherent threats to his position of commanding or supervising other personnel, and even to his survival in today’s highly competitive commercial enterprises.
It is the purpose of this paper to report the results of a study of 49 executives having functional vocal disorders (executive’s dysphonia) and to report non-vocal symptoms that are present.
Selection of Patients
The records of 49 businessmen who had been referred for examination of the voice were selected on the basis of two criteria: (1) the patient held an executive position that involved command of and communication with a large number of persons, (2) his vocal disorder could be classed as functional dysphonia. Patients having contact ulcers or nodules in the larynx were included because these conditions are the result of abuse and misuse of the voice and generally can be treated without an operation.
The executives represented 12 main branches of business, a majority of which comprised sales and personnel, and included manufacturing, accounting, and engineering (Table 1). The ages of the patients ranged from 32 to 70 years, but 28 of the. . .