Author(s): Turley R, Cohen S
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: 1) Evaluate the prevalence and quality-of-life impact of voice and swallowing problems in the elderly; 2) determine treatment trends and barriers to treatment. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of independent-living residents in two retirement communities. Prevalence of dysphonia and dysphagia, voice-related quality of life (VRQOL), 7-point Likert scale of dysphagia severity, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, and barriers to treatment were collected. Spearman correlation and ANOVA statistics were performed. RESULTS: A total of 248 residents responded with a mean age of 82.4 years; 19.8 percent had dysphonia, 13.7 percent dysphagia, and 6 percent both. Respondents with more severe swallowing difficulty had greater impairment on the VRQOL (P = 0.04, Spearman correlation = -0.4). Respondents with both dysphonia and dysphagia had greater depression scores than those with neither symptom (mean CES-D score 15.5 vs 9.9, P = 0.009, ANOVA, P < 0.05, Bonferroni t test). Only 22.4 percent and 20.6 percent had sought treatment for dysphonia and dysphagia, respectively. Being unaware of treatment options and viewing voice and swallowing trouble as a normal part of aging were the most common reasons for not seeking treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Voice and swallowing problems are common in the elderly, but they are not realizing potential treatment benefits.
This article was published in Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg
and referenced in Journal of Phonetics & Audiology