Patient Profiling: Determining the Effects of Patient Factors on Vocal Fatigue


Objectives: The phenomenon of vocal fatigue and the types of patients that are at greatest risk for vocal fatigue are not fully understood. The goal was to investigate patient profiles such as voice disorder type, demographics (age and gender), singing identity, interoceptive awareness, and psychosocial impacts on the severity of vocal fatigue.

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: Ninety-five subjects with voice disorders were asked to complete Part 1 of the Vocal Fatigue Index (VFI-Part1), the Voice Handicap Index-10 (VHI-10), and the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness, version 2 (MAIA-2). The effects of voice disorder type (structural, neurological, functional), psychosocial impact, age, gender, self-reported singing identity, and interoceptive awareness on self-perceived vocal fatigue (VFI-Part1) were determined using multivariate linear regression.

Results: Vocal fatigue had a significant psychosocial impact on patients with voice disorders, as measured by the VHI-10 (P < 0.001). However, there were no significant effects of vocal fatigue across any of the three voice disorder types (P’s >0.05). Age (P = 0.220), gender (P = 0.430), and self-identified singing experience (P = 0.360) also did not have significant effects on vocal fatigue. Additionally, there were no significant relationships between interoceptive awareness MAIA-2 sum scores (P = 0.056) or any of the MAIA-2 sub-scores (P’s > 0.05) and vocal fatigue severity (VFI-Part1).

Conclusion: Vocal fatigue has a significant psychosocial impact on patients with voice disorders. However, patient profiles, including voice disorder type, patient age, gender, singing identity, and level of interoceptive awareness do not appear to play a major role in vocal fatigue symptom reporting. These findings suggest caution should be exercised when attributing patient profiles to vocal fatigue presentation and severity. Studying pathophysiological mechanisms underlying vocal fatigue may help better distinguish unconscious bias in patient profiling from the etiology and severity of vocal fatigue.

In Journal of Voice