Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 5, P656.e17-656.e22, September 2013

Vocal Function and Vocal Discomfort in Sheltered and Non-Sheltered 7- to 10-Year-Old School Children in Aracaju, Brazil



      To compare vocal function, school performance, and vocal discomfort between sheltered and nonsheltered school children in Aracaju, Brazil.


      A controlled cross-sectional study was carried out on 7- to 10-year-old children who attended school regularly. Two groups of children were studied: the study group (SG), with children who lived in a shelter, and the control group (CG) containing children who lived with their families. We interviewed 44 children for the SG and 15 (34%) revealed vocal discomfort (SG = 15). Concomitantly, we interviewed 400 regular school children from the same geographical area and 45 (11.25%) were selected for the control group (CG). They were paired by sex and age with the sheltered children using a 3:1 ratio. Both groups were interviewed about school performance and vocal discomfort and were evaluated using perceptual and acoustic measurements for the voice and larynx.


      Children from both groups had started public school late. There were more individuals with vocal discomfort in the SG and individuals in this group also had a slower speech rate and inadequate pneumophonic coordination compared with the CG. The Dysphonia Severity Index (DSI) revealed mild-moderate deviation for both groups. Upper harmonics and palatal tonsil hypertrophy were higher in the CG, whereas laryngeal constriction was more common in the SG.


      All the SG children revealed mild-moderate deviance on the DSI, a higher level of vocal discomfort, a slow speech rate, inadequate pneumophonic coordination, and laryngeal constriction. The results here presented suggest that social conditions are important for voice behavior in children.

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