Authors: Eriksson H, Tuomi L, Finizia C
Title: Voice Outcomes Following Head-Lift Exercises in Head and Neck Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Study
Source: Journal Of Voice 2023 37(2): 226-233
Year: 2023
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: N/A
To be rated

OBJECTIVES: This prospective randomized study aimed to investigate whether patients with dysphagia after treatment for head and neck cancer improve their vocal function from doing head lift exercises (Shaker's exercise). METHODS: Patients were randomized into an intervention group (n = 24) or a control group (n = 26). Patients in the intervention group performed the head lift exercise three times a day for 8 weeks. At baseline and at follow-up after 8 weeks, participants' voices were evaluated perceptually with the Grade-Roughness-Breathiness-Asthenia-Strain (GRBAS) scale. Vocal fry (VF) was also perceptually evaluated and patients filled in the Voice Handicap Index (VHI). RESULTS: Patients in the intervention group were perceptually evaluated as having less roughness and vocal fry in their voices at follow-up compared to the control group. There were no statistically significant changes between baseline and follow-up neither in the intervention nor the control group regarding GRBAS, VF, or VHI. Neither were there any statistically significant differences within the groups when results on the perceptual evaluations at baseline and follow-up were compared. CONCLUSIONS: The voices of the participants in the intervention group were slightly better than the voices of the participants in the control group with less roughness and VF at follow-up. However, no improvement in the VHI or the remaining GRBAS variables was found. Therefore, this study can only give cautious support to the head lift exercise as a method for improving the voice of patients with dysphagia after treatment for head and neck cancer.

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