The relationship between ratings of voice quality and quality of life measures

Thomas Murry, Reny Medrado, Norman D Hogikyan, Jonathan E Aviv
Journal of Voice 2004, 18 (2): 183-92
In the past several years, a number of scales have been developed that elicit a patient's self-assessment of the severity of his or her voice problem. The Voice Related Quality of Life Measure (V-RQOL) assesses a patient's perception of the impact of the voice problem on quality of life. Although this tool assesses the patient's perception of the voice disorder, it may not reflect the severity of dysphonia as perceived by a clinician. The GRBAS is an auditory-perceptual scale developed in Japan and used by clinicians to categorize the voice using five descriptive perceptual parameters: overall grade or severity (G), roughness of the voice (R), breathiness (B), asthenia (A), and strain (S). The purpose of this research is to determine the relationship between the patient's perception of voice related quality of life using the V-RQOL and the clinician's perception of voice severity using the GRBAS scale. Fifty patients with a complaint of a voice disorder completed the V-RQOL prior to their examination. In addition, 45 patients without voice complaints (controls) also completed the V-RQOL. All patients and control subjects were assessed by one of the voice clinicians using the GRBAS. For 25 of the subjects, both clinicians provided GRBAS perceptual ratings. Each of the two groups, were subsequently divided into subgroups consisting of those age 66 years and under and those over 66 years of age. The results indicate that the two clinicians were highly reliable in rating severity in the normal and voice disordered groups using the GRBAS scale. The results also indicate that perceived voice severity and voice-related quality of life are related; however, the relationship is a moderate one, which suggests that factors other than those directly related to voice quality may contribute to responses on voice assessment scales completed by patients. The relationship was stronger for the subgroup under 66 years old compared with the subgroup 66 years and older.

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