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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-25

Voice characteristics of elderly college teachers: A pilot study

1 Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India
2 Department of ENT and HNS, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India
3 Department of ENT (Audio Vestibular Section), Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Prakash Boominathan
Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai - 116
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-9748.94729

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Background: Rise in the age of retirement for teachers has created opportunities to continue in the profession even after 60 years of age. Elderly teachers will be more prone to developing voice problems due to their continuing teaching assignments, and age-related changes in larynx. Aim: To profile the voice characteristics of elderly teachers through comprehensive voice assessment. Design: Cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: Stroboscopic, perceptual, acoustic, aerodynamic, and self percept features of voice in 20 elderly teachers were assessed using the Sri Ramachandra voice assessment protocol. Statistical Analysis: Differences between genders were calculated using independent t-test. Inter-judge reliability for perceptual analysis was calculated using intra-class correlation coefficient. Results: Stroboscopy revealed sarcopenic changes of vocal muscles, such as discoloration of vocal folds, incomplete closure, and reduced mucosal waves. On GRBAS scale, the subjects were rated as predominantly breathy, asthenic, and strained. Subjects showed reduced Maximum Phonation Time (11-13 seconds) and increased s/z ratio (1.21 in males and 1.19 in females). Mean F0 was 121 Hz (males) and 172 Hz (females). Mean I 0 range [28.4 dB (A) in males and 24.2 dB (A) in females] was reduced and shimmer (5.80% in males and 4.84% in females) values were increased. Dysphonia Severity Index revealed mild to moderate deviation (0.07 in males and 0.16 in females). However, on self evaluation of voice through Voice Disorder Outcome Profile, scores revealed certain physical changes with less or no obvious functional limitation. Conclusion: This study documents the trends in voice-related changes in elderly teachers. This information may be crucial for voice professionals to advice elderly teachers and management to advocate "good vocal health."

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