Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



The Reflux Symptoms Index (RSI), a nine-item self-rated questionnaire, has been suggested as a way of monitoring severity of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms during treatment. However, limited research has been conducted to assess the validity of the RSI as a way of identifying severity of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms as differentiated from gastroesophageal reflux (GER) symptoms. Twenty-five post-pubescent female vocalists participated by completing a one-hour voice evaluation, including a Voice Handicap Index (VHI), an RSI, a Reflux Finding Score (RFS) completed with videostroboscopy for visualization of the laryngeal cavity, and analysis of an acoustic sample with the Multi-Dimensional Voice Profile for noise to harmonic ratio (NHR) and perceptual ratings of hoarseness and breathiness. The investigation placed each participant into one of three groups based upon symptoms reported in her case history form. In an effort to evaluate the validity of the RSI as a tool for differentiating LPR from GER and the absence of reflux, these scores were analyzed for correlations or group relationships. Predictions were that, if the RSI were an indicator of severity of LPR, the RSI raw score would correlate with type of symptoms, RFS raw score, NHR, and/or perceptions of hoarseness. Results failed to reveal statistically significant group differences; however, informal inspection of the data indicated that the RSI scores were generally higher for the GER group than the LPR and asymptomatic groups. Also, RSI scores correlated with VHI raw scores, as both were self-rated items, and the NHR values and the perceptual ratings of hoarseness correlated with the VHI raw scores.



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Committee Chair

Paul Hoffman