European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 272, Issue 10, pp 2601–2609 | Cite as

Prevalence of voice disorders in the elderly: a systematic review of population-based studies

  • Leandro de Araújo Pernambuco
  • Albert Espelt
  • Patrícia Maria Mendes Balata
  • Kenio Costa de Lima
Review Article


Voice disorders can occur in the elderly as a result of natural anatomical and physiological changes or greater exposure to pathological conditions in the aging, affecting communication and quality of life. Nevertheless, data about the prevalence of voice disorders in this phase of life are not well known in a population-based perspective. The aim of the present systematic review was to identify the prevalence of vocal disorders in persons aged 60 years or more in population-based studies. A systematic review was undertaken in eleven electronic databases based on preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis statement (PRISMA) criteria. The methodological quality of the studies was analyzed with strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) directives. The search was conducted independently by two researchers. Four articles satisfied the criteria of eligibility. The prevalence of vocal disorders in the general population aged 60 years or more ranged from 4.8 to 29.1 %. The studies were different in terms of the methodological procedures and the STROBE directives were not completely satisfied by any of the articles selected. The prevalence of vocal disorders in the general elderly population ranged from low to moderate in population-based studies. The methodological discrepancies of the studies compromised the reliability of the estimated data. Upgrading the methodological quality of studies and designing a short, valid and easy-to-use functional voice-related instrument are urgently required in health surveys to determine the prevalence of vocal disorders among elderly individuals.


Voice Voice disorders Epidemiology Cross-sectional studies Aged Aging 


Conflict of interest

The authors do not have a financial relationship with the organization that sponsored the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leandro de Araújo Pernambuco
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Albert Espelt
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Patrícia Maria Mendes Balata
    • 6
  • Kenio Costa de Lima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dentistry, Postgraduate Public Health Program (PPGSCol-UFRN)Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)NatalBrazil
  2. 2.Dysphagia and Voice Professor, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing SciencesFederal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)NatalBrazil
  3. 3.Servei d’Atenció i Prevenció a les DrogodependènciesAgència de Salut Pública de Barcelona (ASPB)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Departament de Psicobiologia i Metodologia de les Ciències de la Salut, Facultat de PsicologiaUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)BellaterraSpain
  5. 5.CIBER de Epidemiologia y Salud Pública, Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  6. 6.Institute of Human Resources of Pernambuco (IRH)PernambucoBrazil
  7. 7.NatalBrazil

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