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Telehealth for Treatment of Pediatric Dysphonia

Published:December 27, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.11.007

      Abstract

      Background

      Vocal fold nodules are the most common etiology of chronic dysphonia in the pediatric population. Voice therapy is an effective first line of treatment, with increasing evidence supporting the use of telepractice in speech pathology. Despite this, there is limited data on its effectiveness in the pediatric population. The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of telepractice in delivering voice therapy to children diagnosed with vocal fold nodules.

      Methods

      A retrospective review was conducted of patients treated with virtual voice therapy from April 2020 to June 2021. Patients were included if diagnosed with vocal fold nodules, 2-18 years of age, and completed therapy in a virtual format. Data includes demographics, Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice (CAPE-V) scores and pediatric Voice Handicap Index (pVHI) scores.

      Results

      Twenty-three children were included, 17 (74%) male and six (26%) female (with an age range of 2.4-9.9 years at the start of therapy). Prior to treatment, the average CAPE-V Overall Severity score was 37.9 (SD 13.8); the average posttreatment score was 22.4 (SD 10.2). The average pVHI total score prior to treatment was 26.3 (SD 12.1), with an average posttreatment score of 20.2 (SD 11.7). Patients who underwent virtual voice therapy had improved posttreatment CAPE-V severity scores than those prior to treatment (average difference = -15.5 points; 95% CI: -8.3 to -22.7; P < 0.001). An increased number of therapy sessions was associated with both higher initial CAPE-V severity scores (r = 0.72; P < 0.01) and a greater decrease in posttreatment CAPE-V scores (r = -0.55; P < 0.01).

      Conclusion

      Virtual voice therapy may be feasible and efficacious in treating dysphonic children diagnosed with vocal fold nodules. Significant improvements were found in perceptual CAPE-V scores in overall severity; positive changes were also seen in parental measures of quality of life. Delivery of voice therapy in a telehealth format may increase access of care and should be considered as a treatment option.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      CAPE-V (Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice), pVHI (Pediatric Voice Handicap Index)
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