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Al-Bahkaly, Nasser, Al-Madhari, Al-Shehri, and Al-Harthi: Prevalence and risk factors of voice disorders among attendants of the Speech Unit at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Introduction: Voice disorders are defined as effortful or difficulties in phonation and deviant voice qualities that are often associated with discomfort and disability. The causes of voice disorders can be classified as congenital or acquired. Many authors have investigated the prevalence of voice disorders in the general population. Others have investigated the risk factors for voice disorders, such as high vocal demand, age, gender, smoking and gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of voice disorders among patients of the Speech Unit at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) and identify variables associated with increased risk for voice disorders.

Materials and methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of voice disorders among all patients who attended the Speech Unit at KAMC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the period from 2008 to 2013. Data were extracted from the QuadraMed (Reston, VA, USA) hospital information system and the database of the laryngeal videostroboscopy. Patient information was reviewed for key variables, such as age, gender, occupation, smoking history and history of known related diseases. Descriptive univariate analysis was carried out to identify variables associated with high risk of voice disorders.

Results: The overall prevalence of voice disorders of all patients attending the Speech Unit was 12.1%. Of the sample studied, 52% were female and 48% were male. Only 16.2% of the patients with voice disorders were smokers. The analysis of occupation showed that 28.26% were housewives, 17.8% were students and 11.12% were teachers.

Conclusions: The result of this study provides valuable information about the prevalence and risk factors and different aetiology of voice disorders.

Acknowledgements: Dr Nasser Hassan for supervising this project.

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