Introduction: Disordered voice quality could be a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). The impact of MS on voice-related quality of life is still controversial.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the results of voice self-assessment with the results of expert perceptual assessment in patients with MS.
Methods: The research included 38 patients with relapse-remitting MS (23 women and 15 men; ages 21 to 83, mean = 44). All participants filled out a Voice Handicap Index (VHI), and their voice sample was analyzed by speech and language professionals using the Grade Roughness Breathiness Asthenia Strain scale (GRBAS).
Results: The patients with MS had significantly higher VHI than control group participants (mean value 16.68 ± 16.2 compared with 5.29 ± 5.5, p = 0.0001). The study established a notable level of dysphonia in 55%, roughness and breathiness in 66%, asthenia in 34%, and strain in 55% of the vocal samples. A significant correlation was established between VHI and GRBAS scores (r = 0.3693, p = 0.0225), and VHI and asthenia and strain components (r = 0.4037 and 0.3775, p = 0.012 and 0.0195, respectively). The female group showed positive and significant correlation between claims for self-assessing one's voice (pVHI) and overall GRBAS scores, and between pVHI and grade, roughness, asthenia, and strain components. No significant correlation was found for male patients (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: A significant number of patients with MS experienced voice problems. The VHI is a good and effective tool to assess patient self-perception of voice quality, but it may not reflect the severity of dysphonia as perceived by voice and speech professionals.