Voice Therapy Outcome—A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Individual Voice Therapy, Therapy in Group, and Controls Without Therapy

Published:October 18, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2018.08.023

      Abstract

      Objective

      A stumbling-block in voice therapy is how the patient will be able to apply the new voice technique in everyday life. Possibly this generalization process could be facilitated by giving voice therapy in group because of the natural forum for training voice-to-speech early in communication between the patients in a group setting. The aim of the study was to compare treatment results from individual voice therapy and voice therapy in group, at several time points and in comparison to patients with no voice therapy.

      Methods

      A randomized treatment study was performed with 77 consecutive patients diagnosed with a functional voice disorder. Thirty-one patients were randomized to individual and group therapy, respectively, and 15 patients to no therapy. The assessments included standardized voice recording and registration of voice range profile (VRP), answering Voice handicap index (VHI) and visual analogue scales for self-hoarseness and self-vocal fatigue, and perceptual voice evaluation by speech-language pathologist. The assessments were performed before, direct after therapy, and three months later in all groups. The 2 therapy groups were also assessed 12 months after therapy.

      Results

      All VHI scores as well as the self-ratings of hoarseness and vocal fatigue, and the perceptual evaluation of voice quality and maximum VRP improved significantly in both therapy groups 3 months after treatment and at 12 months follow-up. There were no significant changes in the control group, with the exception of decreased self-rated hoarseness and increased maximum VRP. Comparisons between treatment groups showed significant larger improvement after group therapy for VHI physical subscale at 12 months, as well as significant lower VHI total score at all measurement sessions and lower subscale scores at 12 months. There were no differences between treatment groups in self-hoarseness or self-vocal fatigue and no difference in perceptual voice quality or VRP. Comparison between controls and treatment groups showed significant larger change in treatment groups from baseline to three months in VHI total and to end of therapy in functional subscale. Treatment groups also showed significant lower scores than controls at each measurement session, for VHI total and physical subscale as well as lower degree of perceptual aberration of voice quality and vocal fatigue, at three months follow-up.

      Conclusions

      This study shows long-term improvement from behavioral voice therapy, particularly in a group setting. The results indicate the importance of early transfer-to-speech and late posttherapy test to capture whether the goal of voice therapy was fulfilled or not for the patients.

      KeyWords

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