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Characteristics of Vocally Healthy Elderly Adults and Elderly Adults With Voice Complaints

Goodwin, Maurice (2017) Characteristics of Vocally Healthy Elderly Adults and Elderly Adults With Voice Complaints. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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OBJECTIVES: The number of cases of age-related voice changes associated with increasing age, known as presbyphonia, will increase as the population becomes older. Presbyphonia is the result of multi-system changes related to phonation that naturally occur with aging. Presbyphonia is associated with changes in acoustic, aerodynamic, and auditory-perceptual measurements; however, the literature is sparse on the differences between vocally-healthy elderly adults and elderly adults diagnosed with presbyphonia. The goal of the study is to compare the acoustic, aerodynamic, and auditory-perceptual characteristic of self-perceived vocally-healthy elderly adults and elderly adults with vocal fold atrophy.

STUDY DESIGN: The study is a combined retrospective and prospective, blinded, nonrandomized, matched cohort study.

METHODS: Vocally-healthy elderly speakers ages 60-84 (n = 50) and age-matched elderly speakers with vocal fold atrophy (n = 50) recorded samples of the first sentence of the Rainbow Passage. Acoustic and aerodynamic data were collected for the voice samples. Ten blinded raters provided auditory-perceptual voice ratings on a 100mm visual analog scale. Data were analyzed for significant differences in acoustic, aerodynamic, and auditory-perceptual differences between the two participant groups.

RESULTS: Significant differences between the vocally healthy control and atrophy groups were observed in acoustic, aerodynamic, and auditory-perceptual characteristics. Regression analysis revealed the atrophy group had significantly worse mean Voice Handicap Index-10 scores, Cepstral Peak Prominence scores, Cepstral Spectral Index of Dysphonia scores, mean pitch, and duration of voice sample, overall severity, roughness, breathiness, strain, loudness, health of speaker, pleasantness of voice, and strength of voice (p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to demonstrate significant differences between vocally healthy elderly people and elderly people with atrophy across acoustic, aerodynamic and auditory-perceptual measures.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Goodwin, Mauricemeg121@pitt.edumeg121
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairGillespie, Amandagillespieai@gmail.comgillespieai
Committee CoChairVerdolini Abbott, Katherinekav25@pitt.edukav25
Committee MemberShaiman, Susanshaiman@pitt.edushaiman
Date: 5 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 March 2017
Approval Date: 5 June 2017
Submission Date: 12 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 79
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: voice presbyphonia auditory-perceptual larynx
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 17:10
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 17:10


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