Communicative suitability of voice following radiotherapy for T1 glottic carcinoma: Testing the reliability of a rating instrument

Marein Van der Torn, Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, Dirk J. Kuik, Hans F. Mahieu

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The objective of the study was to determine whether a communicative suitability rating instrument could be used in a meaningful way to assess functionality of voice following radiotherapy for T1 glottic cancer. Seventeen naive listeners judged the suitability of voice of a patient group with T1 glottic carcinoma (n = 20) just before treatment, a group of patients (n = 40) after radiotherapy, and a matched control group (n = 20) of normal speakers. Listeners rated suitability on a 10-point scale for 10 speaking situations, which supposedly make different demands. In order to validate scores on communicative suitability, ratings were related to perceptual voice quality evaluations and videolaryngostroboscopic evaluations. Results indicate that the concept of measuring listener judgments of communicative suitability of voice is basically sound. Raters are reliable and can discriminate between groups of normal and pathological voices. Patients with T1 glottic carcinoma (assessed before the start of treatment) have on average the least suitable voices. Following radiotherapy suitability is, on average, improved, but does not approach the suitability of normal voices. Ratings on communicative suitability were clearly related to perceptual voice quality aspects and videolaryngostroboscopic evaluations. A subset of three communicative suitability rating scales is recommended as part of the protocol for evaluating voice outcome after radiotherapy for early glottic cancer, besides perceptual evaluation of voice quality by trained and naive raters, videolaryngostroboscopy, acoustical analyses, and self-ratings of vocal performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of voice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Communication
  • Glottis
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • Voice Quality

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