Objective To investigate the prevalence of voice disorders in the general population.Study design Analysis of data from the Stockholm Public Health Cohort.Methods A public health survey was distributed to an open cohort of 114,538 adults >18 years of age in the area of Stockholm County, Sweden. The survey included one question about voice problems, estimating the extent of occurrence of voice problems, excluding voice problems during colds/upper airway infections. The question was tested for validity and reliability in n = 166 voice healthy individuals and n = 183 patients with benign voice lesions. The construct validity was tested against two established self-assessment questionnaires. The question was established to correspond to tiring, strain, and hoarseness. Prevalence of voice problems and correlations with age, gender, occupation, hearing, smoking, and socio-economic status were calculated.Results The overall prevalence of voice disorders in the entire group was estimated to 16.9%, where 15.5% voice problems were rated to occur to a small extent and 1.4% to a great extent. Women were significantly more prone to report voice problems than men. The highest ratings of a great extent of voice problems were found in both women and men >85 years of age. As for occupation, the highest prevalence of voice problems was found in teaching and service occupations.Conclusions The prevalence of voice problems was estimated to 16.9% in the entire group. Women reported significantly more voice problems than men and voice problems were significantly more common in ages >65. This study of self-reported voice problems in a general population is one of the largest of its kind.
- Stockholm public health cohort