Kallvik, Savolainen & Simberg (2017): Vocal Symptoms and Voice Quality in Children With Allergy and Asthma
I: Journal of Voice, Online first
Emma Kallvik, Johannes Savolainen & Susanna Simberg
Objectives: The background for dysphonia is multifactorial, and health-related factors have been listed among the factors affecting voice. In previous studies with adult participants, allergy and asthma have been indicated to have a connection to vocal symptoms. With the majority of previous research being studies involving adult participants, it is unclear what the effect of allergy and asthma on children's voices is. The aim of this study was to investigate if allergies and asthma are risk factors for having vocal symptoms.
Methods: The material was collected through paper questionnaires distributed to the parents of new pediatric patients at an allergy clinic. The participants were 108 children aged 9 months to 17 years and 1 month.
Results: Of the children whose parents had filled in the questions on vocal symptoms, 18.2% (n = 18) had frequently occurring vocal symptoms, which was defined as having two or more vocal symptoms every week or more often. The most common vocal symptoms were throat clearing and coughing. There was a significant connection between inhalant allergy and having frequently occurring vocal symptoms. The connection between cough that lasted for more than 4 weeks and having frequently occurring vocal symptoms was also significant. In this study, we found no significant connection between having an asthma diagnosis and having frequently occurring vocal symptoms.
Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, voice screening for children with inhalant allergy would be advisable. Prolonged cough should be taken seriously and be treated, as the mechanical trauma caused by cough seems to have a connection to vocal symptoms.