"Can You Hear My Voice"- Characteristics of Patients Suffering from Hoarseness, Treatment Seeking Patterns and Implications on Quality of Life

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pnina Granat, MA1
Michal Rassin, PhD2
Carmit Albrecht- Ya'Akov, RN3
Yael Chaham, RN, BA4
Olga Idelevitz, RN, BA4
1Otolaryngology Department, Assaf Harofe Medical Center, Zrifine, Israel
2Nursing Research, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zrifine, Beer- Yaakov, Israel
3Otolaryngology Department, Asaf Harofe Medical Center, Zrifine, Israel
4Otolaryngology Department, Asaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zrifine, Israel

Learning Objective 1: identified potential patients suffering from hoarseness, and ensuring that patients attend treatment on time.

Learning Objective 2: identified nurses' role regarding hoarseness treatment

Purpose: Hoarseness is a common phenomenon amongst professional voice users such as teachers, singers, announcers etc. Hoarseness affects quality of life, decreases work performance and causes absenteeism and early retirement. The aims of the study was to examine characteristics of hoarse individuals, treatment seeking patterns and implications on quality of life.

Methods: Data was collected from 95 patients diagnosed with hoarseness. A 32-item questionnaire was constructed  This questionnaire included professional field, symptoms, personal and medical care patterns and implications of hoarseness on work and social lives. In addition, the questionnaire included open ended questions.

Results: Findings showed that most of those who suffered from hoarseness used speech as a major working tool (teachers and sales people), whereas others used to work in noisy environments, including construction sites and plants. Also in this group were soldiers who were forced to shout in order to be heard over long distances. Average time gap between first symptoms and first treatment was 2.25 months, increasing to several years, in some cases. All participants reported attempts to treat the problem on their own, using "folk remedy". More than half mentioned that their work was harmed due to hoarseness, and average absence rate was 18.42 days. Some reported that hoarseness made them change their occupational field. Nearly half the participants reported that their social relations were affected by hoarseness.

Conclusion: Findings may define nurses' role regarding hoarseness treatment, and direct nurses toward preventive measures, identification of potential patients, habit change guidance and ensuring that patients attend treatment on time.