The prevalence of pediatric voice and swallowing problems in the United States

Laryngoscope. 2015 Mar;125(3):746-50. doi: 10.1002/lary.24931. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Abstract

Objectives/hypothesis: Determine the prevalence of pediatric voice and swallowing problems in the United States.

Methods: The 2012 National Health Interview Survey pediatric voice and language module was analyzed, identifying children reporting a voice or swallowing problem in the preceding 12 months. In addition to demographic data, specific data regarding visits to health care professionals for voice or swallowing problems, diagnoses given, and severity of voice or swallowing problem were analyzed.

Results: An estimated 839 ± 89 thousand children (1.4% ± 0.1%) reported a voice problem. Overall, 53.5% ± 1.9% were given a diagnosis for the voice problem and 22.8% ± 4.6% received voice services. Laryngitis (16.6% ± 5.5%) and allergies (10.4% ± 4.0%) were the most common diagnoses. A total of 16.4% graded the voice problem as a "big" or "very big" problem. An estimated 569 ± 63 thousand children (0.9% ± 0.1%) reported a swallowing problem. A total of 12.7% ± 3.8% received swallowing services and 13.4% ± 1.6% were given a diagnosis for their swallowing problem. Neurological problems were the most common diagnoses (11.1% ± 4.5%). A total of 17.9% graded the swallowing problem as a "big" or "very big" problem.

Conclusion: These data provide the first insight into the prevalence of childhood voice and swallowing problems, which affect approximately 1% of children annually. A relative minority seek care for their problem, despite the disease impact.

Keywords: Dysphonia; children; dysphagia; pediatric; prevalence; swallowing; voice disorders; voice problems.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition / physiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Voice / physiology
  • Voice Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Voice Disorders / physiopathology