Predictors of Six-month Change in the Voice Handicap Index in a Treatment-seeking Population

Jaime Moore, Caprice Greenberg, Susan L. Thibeault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate predictors of longitudinal change in patient-perceived voice impact as determined by the Voice Handicap Index (VHI). Study Design Prospective, survey study. Methods Patients consented to the University of Wisconsin Voice and Swallow Clinics Outcomes Database with voice, concerns with a baseline clinic visit from November 2012 to January 2014 were eligible for the study. The VHI was sent to patients 6 months post clinic visit to determine change in voice handicap from baseline. General health was screened using the 12-item Short Form Health Survey, using physical component summary and mental component summary scores. Predictor variables included treatment (medical and/or behavioral); dysphonia sub-diagnosis; grade, roughness, breathiness, asthenia, and strain rating; age; sex; socioeconomic factors; smoking history; and comorbidity score. Results Two hundred thirty-seven patients met study criteria and were followed longitudinally. Eighty-two patients returned 6-month surveys. The VHI was significantly correlated with mental component summary scores. Patients with a higher grade in baseline grade, roughness, breathiness, asthenia, and strain score were more likely to receive voice intervention (P = 0.04). Six-month improvement in VHI score was associated with both higher initial VHI score and higher educational level in both univariate (P < 0.01, P = 0.04) and multivariate analyses (P < 0.01, P = 0.02). Voice treatment (medical and/or behavioral) was not a significant factor for improvement in VHI score. Conclusions Our results suggest that it is important to consider baseline self-perceived voice impact measures and educational level in setting expectations for voice treatment. Future studies examining the relationship between treatment patterns and voice-related patient outcomes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Long-term outcomes
  • Patient-centered outcomes
  • Voice
  • Voice Handicap Index
  • Voice disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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