Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences & Disorders


The normalcy of voicing at the level of the larynx is dependent upon the competency of the cricoarytenoid joints to which the vocal folds are attached. Rheumatoid involvement of this diarthrodial joint could result in reduced mobility or fixation of the fold(s).

Medical authors hold differing opinions of the nature and frequency of voice change due to the pathology known as cricoarytenoiditis. The term "hoarse" has been widely used to describe the characteristic alteration of phonation in a population of rheumatoid arthritics.

It was the purpose of this study to survey a sample of adult rheumatoid arthritics in order to describe the acoustic characteristics of their phonation and to relate these findings to arthritic involvement of the cricoarytenoid joints as diagnosed by indirect laryngoscopy. Another purpose of the study was to determine which vocal parameters were most predominant when the voices were perceived as "hoarse."

The data were collected by means of a questionnaire completed by thirty-one subjects diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Indirect laryngoscopy was performed on all subjects in order to assess the presence or absence of visible evidence of rheumatoid involvement of the cricoarytenoid joints. Voice samples were obtained from each subject and coded independently with the Voice Profile (Starr and Wilson, 1976) by three judges.

Results indicated that "hoarseness" was perceived in 64.5 percent of the sample. This "hoarseness" was characterized by a lowered pitch and variable amounts of breathiness which was inversely proportional to the amount of "hoarseness." While 45 percent of the subjects reported three or more associated laryngeal symptoms, only 12.9 percent were diagnosed with cricoarytenoiditis. Voice analysis in such a limited sample did not permit description of the characteristic voice change associated with cricoarytenoiditis. The transient nature of such voice pathology further hindered the results of this study.

In conclusion, it is suggested that more specific research be designed in order to assess the voice pathology at the time voice problems are occurring in subjects already diagnosed with cricoarytenoiditis .