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Community listeners' perceptions of voice function post-radiotherapy for laryngeal cancer.

Journal article
Authors Liza Bergström
Elizabeth C Ward
Caterina Finizia
Published in International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume 20
Issue 5
Pages 494-501
ISSN 1754-9507
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 494-501
Language en
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


Successful communication is influenced by communication partners, the community and communication environment. This study examines community members' perceptions of voice function following laryngeal cancer management compared to ratings by clinicians and patients.Sixty-six (Tis-T3) laryngeal cancer patients post-radiotherapy, 10 community members and three speech-language pathologists (clinicians) were recruited. Patients completed voice recordings and self-rated voice quality and acceptability, six months post-radiotherapy. Community members and clinicians rated patient voice recordings using (a) Voice Quality/Acceptability questionnaire, (b) Communicative Suitability Scale (voice function in different vocally demanding environments) and (c) a gender perception question.Ratings for voice quality differed significantly (p < 0.001) between community members and clinicians and approached significance (p= 0.08) between community members and patients. No significant difference for voice acceptability was noted between community members and clinicians/patients. Community members rated the irradiated voice significantly different (p ≤ 0.02) across communication environments with more vocally demanding environments being rated as "Barely Sufficient". Incorrect sex identification (gender perception) occurred with 25% of females.Community communication partners identify functional voice impairments post-radiotherapy, particularly across more vocally demanding environments and for female speakers. Implications for voice rehabilitation including appropriate patient selection is highlighted.

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