Quality of life and voice: study of a Brazilian population using the voice-related quality of life measure

Mara Behlau, Norman D Hogikyan, Gisele Gasparini
Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 2007, 59 (6): 286-96

OBJECTIVE: The goal of the present study was to characterize a large population of Brazilian individuals using the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Voice-Related Quality of Life (V-RQOL) Measure.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied a population of 2,214 Brazilian subjects who completed the V-RQOL questionnaire consisting of 10 questions from two domains: physical functioning and social-emotional functioning. The subjects were divided into two groups according to the presence of vocal complaints: group 1, with vocal complaints (1,304 individuals); group 2, without vocal complaints (910 individuals). Subject age ranged from 14 to 90 years in both groups. All subjects self-rated their voice quality upon a five-point categorical scale ranging from poor to excellent. Moreover, the respondents' professions were classified into four categories according to their level of voice usage.

RESULTS: Results indicate that the worse the self-assessment of the voice, the lower the V-RQOL scores, with higher significance in the group with vocal complaints. The total V-RQOL score was 97 for excellent voices, 92 for very good, 84 for good, 65 for fair, and 45 for poor voices. Main correlations for both groups were: total and physical scores (0.96), total and social-emotional scores (0.82); physical and social-emotional scores (0.69); self-assessment of the voice and total score (0.61); self-assessment of the voice and physical score (0.58), and self-assessment of the voice and social-emotional score (0.52). Two interesting negative correlations were found between age and self-assessment of the voice (-0.271), and age and social-emotional score (-0.184). Group 1, with vocal complaints, presented lower scores than group 2.

CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between self-assessment of voice quality and V-RQOL scores was very clear and statistically significant, especially when considering the group with a known voice disorder.

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