On this lovely Friday morning, Taylor Carey and Sarah Mease shared the results from their team’s study on the aging male voice (other members are Caroline Banks, Bev Miller, and mentor Lisa Fry). Their research question: “Do Vocal Function Exercises (Stemple, 1994) improve the voice of elderly men?” The group used a single-group pre-test post-test design with four participants. The participants were taught the VFEs and performed them for seven weeks. Baseline measures were taken for three consecutive days at the beginning and end of the study, and the group came up with some very interesting results, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Results were mixed quantitatively (the DVs were the Voice-Related Quality of Life scale, measurements of laryngeal airway resistance, and the Voice Handicap Index). Qualitatively, however, they were able to see four themes in the four men when interviewed about the experience of using VFEs. They also noted that the one person who made marked gains in the DVs was also the person who understood the anatomy of the voice and who was intrinsically motivated. This led to a riveting discussion about which comes first – understanding or intrinsic motivation – when it comes to therapy… or change in general.
“The key factor in human subject research is human subjects”. – Taylor Carey