Vocal Dose in Older Adults with Presbyphonia: An Analytic, Cross-Sectional Study

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Older patients with age-related voice changes (presbyphonia) are considered vocal under-doers due to a reportedly low a amount and intensity of voice use (ie, low vocal dose). This low voice use may be consequential to negative effects of presbyphonia like throat discomfort, as well as anxiety and frustration from difficulty communicating. Causally speaking, vocal fold atrophy (presbylaryngis) may indicate inadequate intrinsic laryngeal muscle loading with low voice use, though research is lacking. As a first step, this study examined voice use objectively using vocal dosimetry in older adults with presbyphonia. We hypothesized participants, especially if retired, would exhibit low vocal doses, and lower than reported for other populations. Method: This research used an analytic, cross-sectional design with subgroup analyses to determine feasibility of vocal dosimetry in older adults with presbyphonia. Thirteen older adults with presbyphonia (7 males) completed vocal dose monitoring using an ambulatory phonation monitor (APM). The APM measured vocal parameters over a day of monitoring, from which time, cycle, and distance doses were calculated. Data also were gathered on demographics, vocal handicap, and vocal effort. Results: Descriptively, the group showed a low mean time dose as compared to published vocal dose data from other populations. Females exhibited significantly higher mean values of time dose, cycle dose, and fundamental frequency than males. Time dose for males was negatively correlated with vocal effort. Subgroup analyses failed to detect an effect of age group, but found significantly a higher mean value for time dose in employed, compared to retired, participants. Conclusions: Consistent with self-report, we found older adults with presbyphonia exhibit low time doses, which were in contrast to high vocal doses published on teachers, patients with dysphonia, and even office workers. We found differences in vocal dose as a function of sex and employment status. Though a limited sample, findings suggest patients with presbyphonia may demonstrate low vocal dose, which may be a useful target in treatment.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Journal of Voice  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ziegler A; Hapner ER
  • Start Page

  • 221
  • End Page

  • 230
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 2