To assess the merits of computer-aided voice analysis procedures for very irregular voices of patients after total and laser surgical partial laryngectomy, and to characterize qualitative differences in speech and voice function between these 2 groups of patients.
University hospital in Göttingen, Germany.
Twenty-nine patients with advanced laryngeal carcinomas (T3-T4; according to the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer, TNM staging system, stages III-IVa) were examined: 18 patients with tracheoesophageal speech (voice prosthesis) after total laryngectomy and 11 patients who underwent partial transoral resection of the larynx (by means of laser microsurgery without surgical voice rehabilitation).
Main Outcome Measures
Speech intelligibility was measured by a standardized and validated telephone test, and voice quality was determined by 2 computerized voice analysis systems (multidimensional voice program and Göttingen hoarseness diagram).
The telephone test demonstrated a significantly better speech performance of the patients who had undergone organ-preserving surgery. The voices of both patient groups were too irregular for a qualitative differentiation with the multidimensional voice program. The multidimensional voice program results also failed to show significant correlations to speech intelligibility. The Göttingen hoarseness diagram showed significantly more regular voices in patients with partial laryngectomy than total laryngectomy. These results were correlated with speech intelligibility.
The Göttingen hoarseness diagram is suitable for a qualitative assessment even of irregular voices. Voice prosthesis offers a voice quality that at best approaches that of patients with partial laryngectomy.