Telephonic voice intelligibility after laryngeal cancer treatment: is therapeutic approach significant?


The aim was to investigate telephonic voice intelligibility in patients treated for laryngeal cancer using different approaches. In total, 90 patients treated for laryngeal cancer using different approaches and 12 healthy volunteers were recruited. Each patient and each healthy control read a list of words and sentences during a telephone call. Six auditors listened to each telephonic recording and transcribed the words and sentences they understood. Mean intelligibility rates for each treatment were assessed and compared. Regarding words, the poorest intelligibility was noted for type II open partial horizontal laryngectomies, followed by total laryngectomies. The best intelligibility was found for transoral laser microsurgery, followed by radiotherapy alone. For sentences, the poorest intelligibility was noted for type II open partial horizontal laryngectomies, followed by chemoradiotherapy. The best intelligibility was found for radiotherapy alone and transoral laser microsurgery. More aggressive surgery as well as chemoradiotherapy correlated with significantly poorer outcomes. Transoral laser microsurgery or radiotherapy alone ensured the best telephonic voice intelligibility. Intermediate-advanced T stages at diagnosis also showed significantly poorer intelligibility outcomes, suggesting that T stage represents an independent negative prognostic factor for voice intelligibility after treatment.

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Sincere thanks to Professor AR Antonelli for valuable suggestions and encouragement to continue research in the field of laryngeal oncology and to Miss V. Novanta and Dr. V. Carbonaro for their help as listeners.

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Correspondence to Erika Crosetti.

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Crosetti, E., Fantini, M., Arrigoni, G. et al. Telephonic voice intelligibility after laryngeal cancer treatment: is therapeutic approach significant?. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 274, 337–346 (2017).

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  • Laryngectomy
  • Transoral laser microsurgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Telephone communication