Multi-institutional Study of Voice Disorders and Voice Therapy Referral: Report from the CHEER Network

Stephanie Misono, Schelomo Marmor, Nelson Roy, Ted Mau, Seth M. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives To assess perspectives of patients with voice problems and identify factors associated with the likelihood of referral to voice therapy via the CHEER (Creating Healthcare Excellence through Education and Research) practice-based research network infrastructure. Study Design Prospectively enrolled cross-sectional study of CHEER patients seen for a voice problem (dysphonia). Setting The CHEER network of community and academic sites. Methods Patient-reported demographic information, nature and severity of voice problems, clinical diagnoses, and proposed treatment plans were collected. The relationship between patient factors and voice therapy referral was investigated. Results Patients (N = 249) were identified over 12 months from 10 sites comprising 30 otolaryngology physicians. The majority were women (68%) and white (82%). Most patients reported a recurrent voice problem (72%) and symptom duration >4 weeks (89%). The most commonly reported voice-related diagnoses were vocal strain, reflux, and benign vocal fold lesions. Sixty-seven percent of enrolled patients reported receiving a recommendation for voice therapy. After adjusting for sociodemographic and other factors, diagnoses including vocal strain/excessive tension and vocal fold paralysis and academic practice type were associated with increased likelihood of reporting a referral for voice therapy. Conclusions The CHEER network successfully enrolled a representative sample of patients with dysphonia. Common diagnoses were vocal strain, reflux, and benign vocal fold lesions; commonly reported treatment recommendations included speech/voice therapy and antireflux medication. Recommendation for speech/voice therapy was associated with academic practice type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation 2016.


  • dysphonia
  • reflux
  • speech therapy
  • vocal fold paralysis
  • vocal strain
  • voice disorders
  • voice problems
  • voice therapy


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