Voice handicap of laryngectomees with tracheoesophageal speech
The evaluation of diagnostics and therapies includes more and more subjective, i.e. emotional and social aspects. Focussing on the handicap experienced by dysphonic patients, the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) has previously been found to be of significant clinical and scientific value for different voices. In this study the VHI questionnaire was applied to demonstrate the voice handicap of 20 male laryngectomees using tracheoesophageal voice (Provox®), aged 65.5 B 8.7 years. Their VHI was 45.5 B 24.1, which was significantly higher than the score of patients with functional voice disorders, but differed only slightly from patients with organic laryngeal dysphonia. Focussing on individual data, VHI scores ranged from values similar to persons without voice disorder to maximum handicap of 101. Comparing the VHI scores with the laryngectomees’ gradual self-perception of voice disorder severity, no consistent relationship was found. Considering the large interindividual differences, the VHI may serve as a valuable instrument for the assessment of individual interventional needs rather than for the identification of a general laryngectomees’ handicap.