Comprehensive Evaluation of Voice-Specific Outcomes in Patients With Essential Tremor Before and After Deep Brain Stimulation

Published:October 16, 2020DOI:



      Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a treatment for medically refractory essential tremor (ET), but there is a paucity of literature examining the effects of DBS on voice in patients with ET pre-DBS and post-DBS. This study aimed to report a comprehensive evaluation of voice in patients with ET pre-DBS and 6-months post-DBS.

      Study Design

      Case series.


      Five patients receiving DBS for ET underwent voice evaluations pre-DBS and 6-months post-DBS. One patient had concurrent ET of the vocal tract (ETVT). The evaluation included patient-reported, perceptual, acoustic, and phonatory aerodynamic analyses of voice. Voice Handicap Index-10, Grade, Roughness, Breathiness, Asthenia, Strain Scale, perturbation measures, cepstral spectral index of dysphonia, cepstral peak prominence, and mean phonatory airflow measures were also among the data collected.


      Patients with ET presented with minimal changes in perceptual, acoustic, and phonatory aerodynamic parameters. Perceived vocal roughness significantly increased 6-months post-DBS (P = 0.047). The patient with ETVT presented with clinically significant improvement in almost all collected voice parameters 6-months post-DBS.


      This is the first study to provide data encompassing auditory perceptual voice analysis, voice-specific patient-reported quality of life measures, acoustic, and phonatory aerodynamic outcomes in patients pre-DBS and 6-months post-DBS for ET. The results of our preliminary study have implications for the use of a comprehensive voice assessment to identify and measure change in voice outcomes in patients with ET and ETVT pre- and postsurgery.

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