Exploring the relationship between severity of dysphonia and voice-related quality of life


Sue Jones, BSc, MSc, MRCSLT, Speech and Language Therapy Department, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southmoor Rd, Manchester, M23 9LT, UK, Tel.: +44 161 291 2864; fax: +44 161 291 2867; e-mail: suem.jones@smuht.nwest.nhs.uk.


Objectives:  To explore whether severity and/or consistency of dysphonia are linked to voice-related quality of life.

Design:  Cross-sectional study.

Setting:  Specialist voice clinics, University Teaching Hospital.

Participants:  Sixty adult patients attending with a primary complaint of dysphonia. Exclusion criteria were those below 16 years of age, transexual patients and those with a persistent dysphonia of >2 years.

Main outcome measures:  Voice-related quality of life as assessed by VoiSS.

Explanatory factors:  Severity of dysphonia as judged by perceptual ratings of voice (GRBAS); a visual analogue scale to judge best, worst and today's voice.

Results:  There was a highly significant correlation between perceptual dysphonia severity as assessed by GRBAS and the total, impairment and emotional subsets of the VoiSS questionnaire (r from 0.48 to 0.64).

There was a similar and highly significant correlation between best, worst and today's self-rated voice and the total, impairment and emotional subsets of the VoiSS questionnaire (r from −0.40 to −0.60). However, none of the self-rated parameters was demonstrably better at explaining the effect on quality of life.

Conclusions:  An increasingly negative effect on quality of life appears to be associated with an increase in the severity of dysphonia. Further research on the role of quality of life measures in the assessment and treatment of dysphonia would be of value.