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J Voice. 2009 Sep;23(5):614-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 May 12.

Effects of tonsillectomy on speech and voice.

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ENT Department, University of Genoa, 16147 Genoa, Italy.


The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in acoustic features of speech after tonsillectomy and to establish concepts of patient management and rational therapeutic approach. Before and 1 month after surgery, phonetically balanced sentences and sustained vowels a, e, i were carried out and digitalized with Multi-Dimensional Voice Program (Kay Elemetrics, Lincoln Park, NJ) in all the patients, as an evaluation of nasal resonance, speech articulation, and voice handicap index (VHI). These parameters were estimated: average of fundamental frequency, Jitter percent, Shimmer, noise-to-harmonics ratio, voice turbulence index, soft phonation index, degree of voiceless, degree of voice breaks, and peak amplitude variation. Our data showed that 1 month after tonsillectomy, improvements in all the acoustic parameters, a subjective decrease of hypernasality, and an improvement of speech articulation and VHI were achieved. These data suggest the reduction of the nasal resonance and highlight the role of tonsillectomy in the improvement of voice and speech quality. Furthermore, tonsillectomy should be performed before consideration of pharyngeal flap surgery. Our results highlight that objective evaluation of speech and voice helps the specialist to improve patient management and avoid unnecessary and dangerous surgical procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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