Validation of the Italian version of the singing voice handicap index

Giovanna Baracca, Giovanna Cantarella, Stella Forti, Lorenzo Pignataro, Franco Fussi
European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology 2014, 271 (4): 817-23
Singers constitute a specific population that is particularly sensitive to vocal disability, which may have a higher impact on their quality of life compared to non-singers. A specific questionnaire, the Singing Voice Handicap Index (SVHI), was created and validated aimed to measure the physical, social, emotional and economic impacts of voice problems on the lives of singers. The aim of this study was to validate the Italian version of the SVHI. The validated English version of the SVHI was translated into Italian and then discussed with several voice care professionals. The Italian version of the SVHI was administered to 214 consecutive singers (91 males and 123 females, mean age: 32.62 ± 10.85). Voice problem complaints were expressed by 97 of the singers, while 117 were healthy and had no voice conditions. All subjects underwent a phoniatric consultation with videolaryngostroboscopy to ascertain the condition of the vocal folds. Internal consistency of the Italian version of the SVHI showed a Cronbach's α of 0.97. The test-retest reliability was assessed by comparing the responses obtained by all subjects in two different administrations of the questionnaire; the difference was not significant (p = ns). The SVHI scores in healthy singers was significantly lower than the one obtained in the group of singers with a vocal fold abnormality (29.26 ± 25.72 and 45.62 ± 27.95, p < 0.001, respectively). The Italian version of the SVHI was successfully validated as an instrument with proper internal consistency and reliability. It is a suitable instrument for the self-evaluation of handicaps related to voice problems in the context of singing.

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