Speech Perceptions and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Children With Cleft Lip and Palate

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Background:The association between perception of speech and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among patients with cleft palate is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine: the agreement between patient and parent perception of speech, the correlation between patient/parent speech perception and objective analysis by a speech-language pathologist (SLP), and the relationship between objective speech analysis and HRQOL among children with cleft lip with or without palate (CLCP).Methods:The authors surveyed 108 CLCP patients who received treatment at a large tertiary medical center from 2013 to 2014. Patients and parents were queried regarding their difficulty with speech, and an SLP performed perceptual speech analysis with each patient. Patient-reported survey instruments were used to assess anxiety, depression, anger, peer relationships, stigma, and overall psychosocial health. The authors assessed the agreement between patients and SLP analysis as well as association between speech and HRQOL.Results:Patient and parent-reported speech quality demonstrated moderate agreement regarding the quality of the child's speech (r = 0.46–0.64). Parent and patient speech perception was not well associated with SLP analysis (V = 0.06–0.30). Patient speech perception was correlated with depression (P = 0.03), while SLP analysis was correlated with anger (P = 0.03, P = 0.004), depression (P = 0.007), and difficulty with peer relationships (P = 0.02).Conclusions:Patients and parents have different perceptions of the quality of the child's speech, and their ratings differ from SLP perceptual speech analysis. Both patient speech perception and SLP analysis are correlated with important aspects of quality of life, and should be considered when evaluating children with CLCP.

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