Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Department

Sciences and Health Professions

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Subject Headings

Speech Therapy

Abstract

Cystic fibrosis is a common autosomal recessive disease with severe effects on the respiratory, digestive, and endocrine systems. Symptoms include chronic cough and wheezing, frequent upper respiratory tract infections, and reflux disease. While most treatments for cystic fibrosis aim to mitigate the respiratory and gastrointestinal dysfunction, the potential adverse effects on an individual’s voice has not been researched in a systematic manner. We hypothesized that individuals with cystic fibrosis may show physical signs of vocal fold damage, as well as common dysphonic symptoms. Given the impact voice disorders have an overall quality of life, identification and management of cystic fibrosis-related dysphonia could be of great importance for assessment and treatment of this chronic illness. Four individuals participated, a male and female with cystic fibrosis, and male and female without cystic fibrosis. Each participant underwent videostroboscopy for vocal fold observation. Additionally, aerodynamic vocal parameters were measured using the Visi-PitchTM. Substantial structural changes were observed in the participants with cystic fibrosis. Significant differences in aerodynamic measures were also found, particularly in the area of vocal perturbation (jitter and shimmer). Participants with cystic fibrosis had markedly higher measures of jitter and shimmer. The observed differences may be a direct result of the phonotrauma experienced during day-to-day treatments and respiratory symptoms of the individual with cystic fibrosis.

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