Prevalence of Hoarseness in School-Aged Children

J Voice. 2015 Mar;29(2):260.e1-19. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.08.019. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Objectives: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of hoarseness in children attending the first or second grade of primary school and to explore possible background factors for hoarseness in children.

Methods: The participants were 217 children, aged 6-10 years, from 10 different schools. Questionnaires were filled in by the parents and the teachers of the children and voice samples were recorded. The voice samples from the children were perceptually evaluated by eight trained listeners and intra- and inter-rater reliability was calculated. Additionally, the parents and teachers were in the questionnaires asked to rate the children's voices. Connections between background factors and voice quality were explored.

Results: Both the intra- and inter-rater reliability for the trained listeners were relatively high and significant. The prevalence of hoarseness for the whole group was 12.0% as judged by the trained listeners. For girls, the prevalence of hoarseness was 7.8% and for boys 15.8%. A lower teacher rating of degree of maturity correlated significantly with the voice quality. Additionally, there was a significant negative correlation between the amount of talking at home and voice quality. For girls, heavy voice use as an infant correlated significantly with voice quality. For boys, being the youngest sibling correlated significantly with voice quality.

Conclusions: The results from the present study indicate that more attention should be paid to hoarseness in children and that background factors should be further explored.

Keywords: Background factors; Children; Dysphonia; Hoarseness; Perceptual evaluation; Personality traits; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hoarseness / epidemiology*
  • Hoarseness / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Voice / physiology*
  • Voice Quality*