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Laryngoscope. 2012 Feb;122(2):332-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.22397. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Current dysphonia trends in patients over the age of 65: is vocal atrophy becoming more prevalent?

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Emory Voice Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



The current trends in geriatric voice referrals including the number of patients over the age of 65 years seen per year, the common diagnostic patterns, and specifically the number of patients with vocal atrophy were assessed.


Retrospective cohort study.


A retrospective chart review of all patients seen at the Emory Voice Center for otolaryngologic complaints between the years of 2004 and 2009 was performed.


Of the 6,360 patients seen over a 6-year period, 21% were over the age of 65 years. Fifty-eight percent of patients over the age of 65 years had vocal complaints, with the most common diagnoses being vocal atrophy (25%), neurologic vocal dysfunction (23%), and vocal fold immobility (19.2%). Of those patients diagnosed with vocal atrophy, the majority opted for voice therapy (57%), followed by reassurance (39%), and injection laryngoplasty (6%). There was a statistically significant improvement in mean pretherapy and post-therapy voice-related quality of life (VRQOL) score.


As the number of people in the over 65-year-old age bracket increases, so do the number of geriatric referrals. Although diagnostic trends remain the same, vocal atrophy is becoming more prevalent, with a large number of patients seeking intervention. This will likely result in an increased need for health resources in the future.

Copyright © 2011 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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