Authors: Pedersen M, Beranova A, Moller S
Title: Dysphonia: medical treatment and a medical voice hygiene advice approach. A prospective randomised pilot study
Source: European Archives of Oto Rhino Laryngology 2004 261(6): 312-315
Year: 2004
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 02/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - N
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - N

For many years all patients with dysphonia referred to in the literature as resulting from non-organic (functional) voice disorders were sent to speech therapy. Medical diagnoses were not taken into account. In our earlier Cochrane review on vocal cord nodules we discovered that evidence-based research in the area of benign voice disorders with dysphonia, and with or without slight benign swellings including nodules on the vocal cords, was lacking at that time. Therefore, a prospective randomised pilot study based on our Cochrane review has been made on dysphonic patients with non-organic (function provoked?) voice disorders as the basis for further evidence-based studies.Medical treatment was based on the scientific approach that once a micro-organic disorder caused by reflux, infection, allergy or environmental irritatants (e.g., dust or noise in the workplace) was discovered by very careful anamnesis and systematic objective routine analyses and was treated effectively, with documentation, the non-organic voice disorder disappeared, as, e.g., in the case of a diagnosis and treatment of helicobakter pylori. The reason is that the mucosal swelling/dysfunction of the vocal cords is secondary. In order to try to understand why the recommendation to all these patients for many years was only voice therapy, which the speech therapists felt to be effective, updated voice-hygiene advice (for posture, accents of the diaphragm, intonation pattern and resonance) was given by experienced laryngologists, randomised with the updated medical diagnosis/therapy in order to elucidate what effect the training might have. No evidence-based studies in the literature document any effect. The crucial point seemed to be that doctors mostly did not examine any other diagnoses other than the dysphonia and did not dig down to any of the medical reasons when the vocal fold diagnosis of non- organic disorders was made. This should be changed in the future. This pilot study was based on a comparison of ten dysphonic patients with stroboscopic non- organic (functional) voice disorders, where a micro-organic diagnosis was searched for and treated systematically in a medical regime (for infections, allergies, gastrooesophageal reflux and environmental irritants such as dust, noise, etc.) versus ten dysphonic patients with stroboscopically confirmed non-organic (functional) voice disorders, having only the traditional but optimal voice advice, which we can call medical voice-hygiene advice, including the use of the Accent method. A retrospective group of ten patients treated medically was included, too. A demand cannot be made that the functional group being treated by randomisation with voice advice should also be medically treated at once, the medical approach being the new one. On the other hand, it is strange that no evidence-based research was made before. All patients were measured two times with stored videostroboscopy, a quality-of-life questionnaire and phonetograms with 1-month intervals. All patient groups improved. There was no statistical improvement in favour of the medical group with the voice-related quality-of-life score, also not for the group who received voice-hygiene advice. The geometrical mean values of the phonetogram areas in decibels times semitones were better in all groups, but a statistical difference was not found between the medically treated group and the voice-hygiene advice group. The pilot study showed that both medical treatment and medical voice-hygiene advice had a positive effect on dysphonia in non-organic (functional) voice disorders. There is need of an extensive prospective randomised trial on dysphonia including vocal cord nodules to find out which treatment should be used for this group of patients. It is suggested that an eventual randomisation for microsurgical treatment or regular voice therapy should be made after a period of systematic medical diagnosis and treatment including medical voice-hygiene advice. ©Springer

Access: Paywall