Prevalence of perceived dysphonia in a geriatric population

Justin S. Golub, Po Hung Chen, Kristen J. Otto, Edie Hapner, Michael M. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To characterize geriatric dysphonia, including its prevalence, quality-of-life impairment, and association with overall health status. DESIGN: A validated survey-based study of geriatric dysphonia. SETTING: An independent living facility for geriatric individuals. PARTICIPANTS: The entire population of residents at the facility was offered the survey. The inclusion criterion was aged 65 and older. MEASUREMENTS: Two survey-based measures were used to characterize dysphonia: a direct question asking whether participants had problems with their voice and a voice-related quality-of-life (V-RQOL) measure. In addition, participants were administered the 12-item Medical Outcomes Study Short Form survey, U.S. version 2.0, a concise survey designed to evaluate overall health status. RESULTS: The prevalence of dysphonia was 20%. More than 50% of patients with voice problems incurred significant quality-of-life impairment resulting from their dysphonia as measured using V-RQOL scores. The mean total V-RQOL score±standard deviation was 89±20. Finally, general health measures did not reflect V-RQOL. CONCLUSION: There is a high prevalence of voice problems in older people, with a large proportion having significantly impaired quality of life related to their dysphonia. General health measures do not reflect V-RQOL, and many individuals may wrongly attribute dysphonia to age-related change alone. Administration of validated instruments for assessing dysphonia is encouraged, because direct questions regarding voice difficulties may not be sensitive to the severity of vocal impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1736-1739
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Dysphonia
  • Geriatric
  • Larynx
  • Voice disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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