The impact of a voice counseling procedure to select students with normal vocal characteristics for starting a master program in speech language pathology: a pilot study

Kristiane M Van Lierde, Evelien d'Haeseleer, Sophia Deley, Anke Luyten, Nele Baudonck, Sofie Claeys, Floris L Wuyts
Journal of Voice 2012, 26 (5): 623-8

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to determine objective vocal quality, vocal characteristics, and vocal habits in future speech language pathology (SLP) students and to evaluate the possible impact of a provided vocal counseling procedure. A comparison of vocal data was done in SLP students who had and who had not undergone vocal counseling procedure. It is hypothesized that counseling results in good vocal quality, adequate vocal performance, and appropriate vocal hygiene.

STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled study design.

METHODS: To determine the vocal quality, questionnaires (Voice Handicap Index [VHI]), subjective (videostroboscopic and perceptual evaluations), and instrumental assessment techniques (aerodynamic, vocal range, acoustic measurements, Dysphonia Severity Index [DSI]) were used. Identical voice assessments were made in 71 students who followed and have not (n=83) followed the vocal counseling procedure.

RESULTS: The VHI showed the absence of a psychosocial impact of the vocal quality. Thirty percentage of the subjects mentioned hoarseness as the most common vocal complain. Videostroboscopic evaluations revealed normal vocal anatomy and physiology. A significant difference regarding the DSI value was found between the students with (+3.3, 83%) and without (+1.8, 68%) a followed voice counseling procedure.

CONCLUSION: This vocal counseling procedure is added as a standard procedure when future students gain information about the SLP master program. To what extent the presence and content of the vocal education strategy can influence the choice of the profession as an SLP is subject for further research.

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