Defining the lived experience of older adults with voice disorders

Nicole M. Etter, Joseph C. Stemple, Dana M. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to gather rich thick descriptive data regarding the lived experiences of older adults seeking treatment for a voice disorder. Design: Using qualitative methodologies, participants completed semi-structured interviews with trained investigators to detail their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and experiences of living with a voice disorder. Using a process of horizontalization, themes were identified that described the experiences of older adults with voice disorders. Setting: Research was conducted at four clinical voice centers in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Data were analyzed in the Laryngeal and Speech Dynamics Lab at the University of Kentucky. Participants: A total of 28 adults (aged 65-90 years) with voice disorders were recruited for this study. Results and Conclusions: Aging adults demonstrated a strong urge to communicate; however, they tended to describe their voice quality in negative terms and were emotionally impacted by these associations. They admitted to withdrawing from some activity or social event because their voice did not meet their expectations or voice needs; thought their voice quality was part of normal aging; and had resigned to accept their current voice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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