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Aerodynamic Outcomes of Four Common Voice Disorders: Moving Toward Disorder-Specific Assessment.

ABSTRACT

The two goals of the present study were to (1) determine the ability of commonly used aerodynamic voice measures to capture change as a function of known interventions and (2) determine if certain aerodynamic measures demonstrate better responsiveness to change in specific disorder types than others.This is a retrospective, longitudinal, single-blinded, cross-sectional study.Patients (n = 70) with a single voice disorder diagnosis of benign vocal fold lesions (lesions), unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP), primary muscle tension dysphonia (MTD-1), or vocal fold atrophy (atrophy) underwent baseline testing, a single intervention (phonosurgery or voice therapy), and follow-up testing. Common aerodynamic measurements were completed in repeated syllables and an all-voiced sentence.Statistically significant improvements were observed for two outcome measures, average airflow in syllables, and average airflow in the all-voiced sentence. Patients with lesions, UVFP, and MTD-1 improved in average airflow in the all-voiced sentence. Patients with UVFP also improved in airflow in syllables.Average airflow in the all-voiced sentence changed as a function of treatment for the lesion, MTD-1, and UVFP groups, demonstrating a disorder-specific pattern. Laryngeal airway resistance, and estimates of average subglottal pressure did not show significant change. Average airflow in the all-voiced sentence measurements is recommended as a routine voice measure, and further investigation of other aerodynamic measures' sensitivity to change is warranted.