Vocal function exercises for presbylaryngis: a multidimensional assessment of treatment outcomes

Cara Sauder, Nelson Roy, Kristine Tanner, Daniel R Houtz, Marshall E Smith
Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology 2010, 119 (7): 460-7

OBJECTIVES: Presbylaryngis, or aging of the larynx, can adversely affect vocal function and quality of life in the elderly. This preliminary investigation examined the effects of vocal function exercises, a physiologic voice therapy approach, as a primary treatment for presbylaryngis.

METHODS: Nine consecutive elderly patients with presbylaryngis (2 female, 7 male) underwent a 6-week course of voice therapy employing vocal function exercises. Pretherapy-versus-posttherapy comparisons were made of self-ratings of voice handicap and phonatory effort level, as well as auditory-perceptual voice assessments, acoustic analyses, and visual-perceptual evaluations of laryngeal images.

RESULTS: After treatment, patients reported significant reductions on Voice Handicap Index scores, phonatory effort levels, and voice disorder severity. Blinded listeners rated the posttreatment voices as significantly less breathy and strained. However, comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment maximum phonation times, acoustic measures, and laryngeal images did not reveal significant changes.

CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary data suggest that vocal function exercises produce significant functional and perceptual improvements in voice, and deserve further attention as a treatment for elderly patients with presbylaryngis.

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