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Original Article
February 2002

Computer-Assisted Voice Analysis: Establishing a Pediatric Database

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Campisi, Tewfik, Manoukian, Schloss, and Sadeghi) and Speech-Language Pathology (Ms Pelland-Blais), The Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002;128(2):156-160. doi:10.1001/archotol.128.2.156

Objectives  To establish and characterize the first pediatric normative database for the Multi-Dimensional Voice Program, a computerized voice analysis system, and to compare the normative data with the vocal profiles of patients with vocal fold nodules.

Design  A cross-sectional, observational design was used to establish the normative database. The comparative study was completed using a case-control design.

Setting  University-based outpatient pediatric otolaryngology clinic.

Participants  One hundred control subjects (50 boys and 50 girls) aged 4 to 18 years contributed to the normative database. The voices of 26 patients (19 boys and 7 girls) with bilateral vocal fold nodules were also analyzed.

Main Outcome Measures  Demographic data, including sex, age, height, weight, body mass index, and cigarette smoke exposure, were obtained. The Multi-Dimensional Voice Program extracted up to 33 acoustic variables from each voice analysis.

Results  The mean (SEM) values of each of the acoustic variables are presented. At age 12 years, boys experience a dramatic decrease in fundamental frequency measurements. The voices of patients with vocal fold nodules had significantly elevated frequency perturbation measurements compared with control subjects (P<.001).

Conclusions  The vocal profile of children is uniform across all girls and prepubescent boys. Patients with vocal fold nodules demonstrated a consistent acoustic profile characterized by an elevation in frequency perturbation measurements. Normal acoustic reference ranges may be used to detect various vocal fold pathologic abnormalities and to monitor the effects of voice therapy.