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Laryngoscope. 2005 Nov;115(11):1988-95.

Voice disorders in the general population: prevalence, risk factors, and occupational impact.

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0252, USA.



Epidemiologic studies of the prevalence and risk factors of voice disorders in the general adult population are rare. The purpose of this investigation was to 1) determine the prevalence of voice disorders, 2) identify variables associated with increased risk of voice disorders, and 3) establish the functional impact of voice disorders on the general population.


Cross-sectional telephone survey.


A random sample (n = 1,326) of adults in Iowa and Utah was interviewed using a questionnaire that addressed three areas related to voice disorders: prevalence, potential risk factors, and occupational consequences/effects.


The lifetime prevalence of a voice disorder was 29.9%, with 6.6% of participants reporting a current voice disorder. Stepwise logistic regression identified specific factors that uniquely contributed to increased odds of reporting a chronic voice disorder including sex (women), age (40-59 years), voice use patterns and demands, esophageal reflux, chemical exposures, and frequent cold/sinus infections. However, tobacco or alcohol use did not independently increase the odds of reporting of a chronic voice disorder. Voice disorders adversely impacted job performance and attendance, with 4.3% of participants indicating that their voice had limited or rendered them unable to do certain tasks in their current job. Furthermore, 7.2% of employed respondents reported that they were absent from work 1 or more days in the past year because of their voice, and 2% reported more than 4 days of voice-related absence.


The results of this large epidemiologic study provide valuable information regarding the prevalence of voice disorders, factors that contribute to voice disorder vulnerability, and the functional impact of voice problems on the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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