Voice Outcomes of Adults Diagnosed with Pediatric Vocal Fold Nodules and Impact of Speech Therapy

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the voice outcomes of adults diagnosed with vocal fold nodules (VFNs) as children and to assess the impact of speech therapy on long-term voice outcomes.

Study Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Large health care system.

Subjects and Methods

Subjects diagnosed with VFNs as children between the years 1996 and 2008 were identified within a medical record database of a large health care system. Included subjects were 3 to 12 years old at the time of diagnosis, had a documented laryngeal examination within 90 days of diagnosis, and were ≥18 years as of December 31, 2014. Qualified subjects were contacted by telephone and administered the Vocal Handicap Index–10 (VHI-10) and a 15-item questionnaire inquiring for confounding factors.

Results

A total of 155 subjects were included, with a mean age of 21.4 years (range, 18-29). The male:female ratio was 2.3:1. Mean VHI-10 score for the entire cohort was 5.4. Mean VHI-10 scores did not differ between those who received speech therapy (6.1) and those who did not (4.5; P = .08). Both groups were similar with respect to confounding risk factors that can contribute to dysphonia, although the no-therapy group had a disproportionately higher number of subjects who consumed >10 alcoholic drinks per week (P = .01).

Conclusion

The majority of adults with VFNs as children will achieve a close-to-normal voice quality when they reach adulthood. In our cohort, speech therapy did not appear to have an impact on the long-term voice outcomes.

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