Prevalence of velopharyngeal insufficiency in woodwind and brass students

A. Evans, T. Driscoll, Bronwen J. Ackermann

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is a disorder in which air leaks out through the nose, reducing performance quality and capacity in wind and brass players. There have been limited studies on the prevalence of this potentially career-threatening disorder. Aims: To identify the prevalence of VPI in a sample of conservatorium level woodwind and brass student instrumentalists in Australia. Methods: Wind and brass students from four music institutions were recruited by email invitation to complete an online survey. Results from 77 musicians were analysed for their knowledge and experience of VPI. Musicians who had experienced VPI provided information on the characteristics, symptoms and treatment or advice sought for the disorder. Results: Of the 77 musicians included in the analysis, 44% had heard of VPI, 30% were aware of other musicians who had experienced VPI and 39% had personally experienced VPI. Conclusions: The results suggest that VPI may be a common occurrence in wind and brass players. Informal discussions with colleagues and music teachers also suggest that VPI is a frequent phenomenon. This group of musicians represents the largest sample surveyed about VPI to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-482
Number of pages3
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Musicians
  • Prevalence
  • Survey
  • Velopharyngeal insufficiency
  • Woodwind and brass

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