Objectives:Interoception may play a role in how individuals perceive their voice disorder. The first objective of this study was to investigate relationships between interoception and voice disorder class (functional, structural, neurological). The second objective was to determine relationships between interoception and voice-related outcome measures between patients with functional voice and upper airway disorders and typical voice users. The third objective was to determine whether patients with primary muscle tension dysphonia (a type of functional voice disorder) had different levels of interoceptive awareness than typical voice users.
**Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Methods: One hundred subjects with voice disorders completed the multidimensional assessment of interoceptive awareness-2 (MAIA-2). Voice diagnosis and singing experience were also acquired from each patient’s medical chart. Voice handicap (VHI-10) and Part 1 of the vocal fatigue index (VFI-Part1) scores were obtained from patients diagnosed with functional voice and upper airway disorders. MAIA-2, VHI-10, VFI-Part1, and singing experience were also obtained from 25 typical voice users. Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess the association between response variables and voice disorder class, adjusting for singing experience, gender, and age.
Results: There were no significant group differences between voice disorder class (functional, structural, neurological) after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Participants with functional voice and upper airway disorders who scored significantly higher on the VHI-10 and VFI-Part1 had lower Attention Regulation sub-scores on the MAIA-2 (P’s<0.05). Patients with primary muscle tension dysphonia scored significantly lower on the Emotional Awareness MAIA-2 subscale than typical voice users (P=0.005).
Conclusion: Patients with functional voice disorders with lower capabilities to attend to body sensations may score higher on voice-related patient-reported outcome measures, like the VHI-10 and VFI-Part1. Patients with primary muscle tension dysphonia may also have lower capabilities in processing their body sensations than typical voice users.