Acoustic, perceptual and aerodynamic voice evaluation in an obese population
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Objective: To investigate perceptual, acoustic and aerodynamic voice parameters in obese individuals. Methods: Twenty obese and 20 normal-weight volunteers underwent voice evaluation by laryngoscopy, acoustic analysis, aerodynamic measurement and perceptual analysis (using the grade-roughness-breathiness-asthenia-strain ('GRBAS') scale and the Voice Handicap Index 10 scale). Data from both subject groups were compared. Results: No difference was found in acoustic analysis parameters between the two groups (p > 0.05). Maximum phonation time in the obese group (mean +/- standard deviation, 19.6 +/- 4.9 seconds) was significantly shorter than in controls (26.4 +/- 4.1 seconds) (p < 0.001), although the s/z ratio was very similar between the two groups. In the obese and control groups, the mean +/- standard deviation grade-roughness-breathiness-asthenia-strain scores were 1 +/- 1.3 and 0.2 +/- 0.6 (p = 0.002) and the mean +/- standard deviation Voice Handicap Index 10 scores were 0.5 +/- 1.2 and 1.2 +/- 1.7 (p = 0.27), respectively. Conclusion: Obese individuals had poorer vocal quality as judged by the grade-roughness-breathiness-asthenia-strain scale, and reduced maximum phonation time. However, there was no change in voice quality as assessed by acoustic analysis and Vocal Handicap Index 10 score, compared with controls.