Validation of an instrument to measure voice-related quality of life (V-RQOL)

  • Norman D. Hogikyan
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Otolaryngology, 1904 Taubman Center, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0312 U.S.A.
    Vocal Health Center, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Girish Sethuraman
    Vocal Health Center, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Search for articles by this author
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      When a patient presents for care of a voice disorder, the clinician attempts to diagnose the problem, quantify the degree of dysphonia, and prescribe appropriate treatment. Quantification of the degree of dysphonia is often difficult, as no universal index of vocal function exists. Decisions about the nature and intensity of treatment are often based on the magnitude of the voice-related problems experienced by the patient and the importance that the patient places on those problems, that is, the impact that the voice disorder is having on the patient's voice-related quality of life (V-RQOL). Measurement of post-treatment outcome is also not standardized. Regardless of how the clinician measures response to treatment, it will typically be measured by the patient in terms of how his or her voice-related problems are affected by the treatment.
      Measurement of quality of life has not been a traditional part of the evaluation of the dysphonic patient. This study was undertaken to develop and validate an instrument for measuring V-RQOL using a population of 109 voice and 22 non-voice patients. The 10-item V-RQOL measure performs well in tests of reliability, validity, and responsiveness, and it carries a low burden. Measurement of V-RQOL is a valuable addition to the evaluation of dysphonic patients and their treatment outcomes.

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