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Correlation between acoustic measures, voice handicap index and GRBAS scales scores among Moroccan students.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perceptions of voice handicap and to analyze their acoustic parameters to determine whether acoustic measures of students’ voice would correlate with their perceptions of voice handicap assessed by Arabic version of Voice Handicap Index (VHI), and with the perception of the listener assessed by the scale of Grade, Roughness, Breathiness, Asthenicity and Strained (GRBAS scales). This study will also check the correlation between GRBAS scales results and VHI scores. Method: 371 students (204 girls and 167 boys), underwent 3 kinds of communication disorders assessment: vocal assessment that included the Arabic version of VHI-30, acoustic measures and perceptual analysis of dysphonia which was performed by 2 speech language therapists using the GRBAS scale. The control group consisted of a group of students selected based on VHI-30 scores cut off. The correlations were assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient. The differences were assessed using Mann Whitney U Test. The difference is significant if p-value<0.05 and the correlation is strong if the correlation coefficient r is bigger than 0.7. Result: For all subjects and male gender, low positive correlations were found between the total VHI score and Shimmer local, number of voice breaks and jitter local. It was revealed high correlations (r>0.72) between total VHI-scores, functional VHI score, emotional VHI score and the overall severity resulted from GRBAS subscales. However, a moderate correlation (r=0.61) was resulted between physical VHI and the overall severity of GRBAS subscales. We noticed that B subscale is highly correlated (r>0.75) with all subscales of VHI. Moderate to high correlation was revealed between respectively the numbers of voice breaks, jitter (local), shimmer (local) and GRBAS subscales. However, little correlation between Mean pitch, maximum pitch, fraction of locally unvoiced frames respectively and GRBAS subscales. Conclusion: VHI, GRBAS scales and acoustic measures are assessing two different levels of activity according to the World Health Organization classification of Impairment, Disabilities, and Handicaps. Thus, these three types of assessment tools may be used as separate procedures in one test battery to reach a comprehensive evaluation of voice disorders in different populations.

Author(s): Brahim Sabir, Bouzekri Touri, Mohamed Moussetad