Background Prevalence of paediatric voice disorders has been reported as 6–9% in children of school age. The appropriate diagnosis and management of paediatric voice disorders is essential for progress in education and psycho-social development. The following article presents a review of a UK tertiary paediatric voice clinic experience of 154 patients to assess referral patterns, diagnosis, management and socio-economic variations.
Methods An audit of 195 consecutive appointments between October 2009 and September 2013 at a monthly tertiary paediatric voice clinic.
Results Of the 154 new patients 86 were male and 68 were female. The age at first clinic appointment shows a trimodal peak at ages 5, 8 and 11 years old. General Practitioners were the main referral source (46%). Vocal cord nodules accounted for 52% of diagnoses with a male predominance. Clinic attendance was most common from SIMD groups 1 (most deprived) and 5 (least deprived). Analysis of the muscle tension dysphonia group indicates that they are more likely to come from social groups 4 or 5 (69%) and an older age group (mean age 10.4 years).
Discussion A dedicated paediatric voice clinic is the optimal method for assessment, diagnosis and management of these patients. Diagnosis is possible on the majority of the patients in clinic, with the predominant pathology being vocal cord nodules that receive speech and language therapy. Socioeconomic group appears to have an influence on paediatric voice particularly vocal cord nodules and muscle tension dysphonia.
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