Study Finds Opera Singers Are More Susceptible to Acid Reflux

Classic Arts News   Study Finds Opera Singers Are More Susceptible to Acid Reflux
Anna Netrebko may look glamorous on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, but according to new research, she and her fellow singers are 18 percent more likely than the rest of us to suffer from "wet burping."

The Guardian of London reports that researchers at the Catholic University in Rome, after interviewing more than 350 chorus singers across Italy, found that 35 percent of them complained of "frequent, partial regurgitation of their stomach contents." That compared with only 17 percent of a comparable group who don't sing for a living.

The frequency of "wet burping" was linked to the length of a singer's career and the number of hours spent practicing and performing, according to an article in the journal Gastroenterology.

And there's more bad news for singers. "Wet burping" is one common symptom of gastro-esophageal reflux. Heartburn is another, and, according to The Guardian, researchers found that ailment to be almost twice as common among opera singers as the rest of the population.

The project coordinator, Giovanni Cammarota, told the ANSA news agency, "Over the years we came upon many cases of opera singers who suffered from reflux. On the basis of this observation, we guessed that it might not be a coincidence."

He suspects that opera singers are so susceptible because of the pressure they exert on their diaphragms as they attempt to control their breathing. "Future studies will be needed," he said, "to clarify whether gastro-esophageal reflux in professional opera choristers is stress-induced and therefore may be considered as a work-related disease."

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