Effects of finding the speech-language pathologist likeable on postlaryngectomy speech intelligibility outcomes

Feiner, Marlies, Keszte, Judith, Meyer, Alexandra, Kulnik, Stefan T., Maasz, Martin, Lothaller, Harald, Fuchs, Michael, Hormes, Karl, Oeken, Jens, Vogel, Hans-Joachim, Koscielny, Sven, Pabst, Friedemann and Singer, Susanne (2021) Effects of finding the speech-language pathologist likeable on postlaryngectomy speech intelligibility outcomes. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, ISSN (print) 1021-7762 (Epub Ahead of Print)


Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with patients after total laryngectomy (TL) to regain verbal communication. The influence of the quality of the therapeutic relationship on the success of TL voice rehabilitation in terms of speech intelligibility is not known. Finding each other likeable is an important factor in establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships in everyday life. The fit of therapist and client is relevant to the therapeutic relationship. The purpose of this study therefore was to assess the association between the degree of SLPs' likeability ratings and postlaryngectomy speech intelligibility. In a multicentre prospective cohort study, participants rated their SLPs' likeability after finishing TL rehabilitation. Speech intelligibility was measured objectively with the Post-Laryngectomy Telephone Intelligibility Test and subjectively with the Questionnaire for Adjustment after Laryngectomy. The association of SLPs' likeability with speech intelligibility was analysed using hierarchical logistic regression, expressed with odds ratios (OR) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Altogether 124 patients from 13 institutions participated. The degree of finding the SLP likeable was not significantly associated with objective speech intelligibility (OR 1.30; 95% CI 0.78-2.18; p = 0.32) or subjective speech intelligibility (OR 1.01; 95% CI 0.60-1.72; p = 0.96) after controlling for age, sex and education factors. In this patient cohort, there was no evidence for an association between ratings of SLPs' likeability and speech intelligibility outcomes after rehabilitation. Future studies could consider the use of alternative instruments for measuring likeability. [Abstract copyright: © 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.]

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