Muscular Tension and Body Posture in Relation to Voice Handicap and Voice Quality in Teachers with Persistent Voice Complaints
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between extrinsic laryngeal muscular hypertonicity and deviant body posture on the one hand and voice handicap and voice quality on the other hand in teachers with persistent voice complaints and a history of voice-related absenteeism. The study group consisted of 25 female teachers. A voice therapist assessed extrinsic laryngeal muscular tension and a physical therapist assessed body posture. The assessed parameters were clustered in categories. The parameters in the different categories represent the same function. Further a tension/posture index was created, which is the summation of the different parameters. The different parameters and the index were related to the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) and the Dysphonia Severity Index (DSI). The scores of the VHI and the individual parameters differ significantly except for the posterior weight bearing and tension of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. There was also a significant difference between the individual parameters and the DSI, except for tension of the cricothyroid muscle and posterior weight bearing. The score of the tension/posture index correlates significantly with both the VHI and the DSI. In a linear regression analysis, the combination of hypertonicity of the sternocleidomastoid, the geniohyoid muscles and posterior weight bearing is the most important predictor for a high voice handicap. The combination of hypertonicity of the geniohyoid muscle, posterior weight bearing, high position of the hyoid bone, hypertonicity of the cricothyroid muscle and anteroposition of the head is the most important predictor for a low DSI score. The results of this study show the higher the score of the index, the higher the score of the voice handicap and the worse the voice quality is. Moreover, the results are indicative for the importance of assessment of muscular tension and body posture in the diagnosis of voice disorders.