Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seniors With Vocal Problems Want Treatment But Aren't Getting It

Date:
September 23, 2008
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
The breathy, hoarse voice of senior citizens is often thought to be a normal sign of aging. But doctors at the Duke Voice Care Center say that's a false perception that needs to change. And they've discovered that it may partially explain why seniors who want treatment for the condition aren't seeking it.

The breathy, hoarse voice of senior citizens is often thought to be a normal sign of aging. But doctors at the Duke Voice Care Center say that's a false perception that needs to change. And they've discovered that it may partially explain why seniors who want treatment for the condition aren't seeking it.

Related Articles


That's a problem, added Seth Cohen, M.D., a Duke otolaryngologist and the study's lead author, because voice and swallowing concerns can lead to serious quality of life issues including anxiety, depression and social withdrawal.

Nearly 20 percent of the 248 octogenarians studied by the Duke researchers had dysphonia, the medical term for hoarseness, weakness or loss of voice. Fourteen percent had dysphagia or painful swallowing. Approximately three-quarters of the respondents (77.6% for dysphonia and 79.4% for dysphasia) had not sought treatment, even though more than half (55.9%) expressed interest in getting help.

"Voice and swallowing issues are serious concerns and people who want medical care are not getting it," says Cohen of the research presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in Chicago, IL. "Is it because they have so many medical problems and these issues are getting pushed aside or overlooked? We don't know. What we do know is these medical concerns have a huge impact on quality of life, and more people should be aware of the treatments available and be able to obtain help."

Previous studies have reported that nearly one-fourth of elderly individuals believe vocal and swallowing problems are a normal part of aging, a perception found to be even more common among those who actually suffer. The Duke physicians surmise that this may lead some elderly people to accept their difficulties and not seek treatment.

Half of those surveyed were unaware that treatment existed. This is a concern, says Cohen, because symptoms of depression were found to be more common among those affected. And, previous studies have reported a connection between the conditions and increased depression, anxiety and social withdrawal.

Cohen says part of the problem may be under-recognition. Primary care physicians are currently managing the many medical conditions elderly people routinely face, and may not be discussing voice and swallowing problems with their patients. Regardless, Cohen says the Duke data shows that needs to change.

"Our results highlight the need for better education of the general public and, primary care providers," Cohen said. "Whether this effort leads to increased awareness and/or better outcomes for these patients is the basis of further study. But for now, we know these problems have a significant negative impact on quality of life, and obtaining appropriate treatment can make a big difference."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Seniors With Vocal Problems Want Treatment But Aren't Getting It." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923104305.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2008, September 23). Seniors With Vocal Problems Want Treatment But Aren't Getting It. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923104305.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Seniors With Vocal Problems Want Treatment But Aren't Getting It." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923104305.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New FDA-Approved Diabetes Medicine Might Save Drugmaker

New FDA-Approved Diabetes Medicine Might Save Drugmaker

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved new diabetes drug Toujeo on Wednesday, a move that might save French drugmaker Sanofi&apos;s profits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The 5 Best Tips to Look Younger Now

The 5 Best Tips to Look Younger Now

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) Life happens, and we all get older, but forget the pricey anti-aging products and plastic surgery. You can tweak your habits to turn back the hands of time. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few simple tips to help you look and feel younger. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins