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Authors Hartley NA, Breen E, Thibeault SL
Author Profile(s)
Journal J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. Pages: 1-21
Publish Date 2016 Oct 17
PubMed ID 27750292

The purpose of this study was to document typical vocal health characteristics (including voice-related activities, behaviors, and symptomatology) of young adults attending college and to determine lifetime and point prevalence rates of voice disorders.Undergraduates at University of Wisconsin-Madison completed an anonymous online survey detailing vocal use, symptomatology, impact, sociodemographics, and voice-related quality of life. Univariate analyses and multivariate regression models isolated risk factors for lifetime and point prevalence rates of a voice disorder.Vocal health and associated factors were analyzed for 652 students (predominantly 18-25 years of age). Lifetime prevalence rate of a voice disorder was 33.9% (point prevalence = 4.45%). Change in voice function (odds ratio [OR] = 2.77), seasonal or chronic postnasal drip (OR = 2.11), hoarseness (OR = 2.08), and restrictions to social activity (OR = 2.07; all p < .05) were identified as the strongest predictors of disorder. A total of 46% of students reported some form of voice problem in the past year, most frequently lasting between 1 and 6 days (39%). Voice usage in social and work settings exceeded demands in the classroom.Young adults in college frequently experience disturbances to vocal health; however, this is not usually perceived to interfere with communication. Relative weighting of risk factors appears to differ from older adults, highlighting the need for individualized evaluation and management, with reference to age-appropriate normative reference points. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System