The study was aimed at assessing the suitability of English-language Internet health information related to vocal hygiene, vocal health, and prevention of voice disorders. We also examined the relation between suitability, readability, and quality of Internet health information.
Suitability of 77 websites from Dueppen et al9 was assessed using the Suitability Assessment of Materials tool. Information about readability and quality of the websites were extracted from Dueppen et al.9
The overall converted suitability percent score of all 77 websites was 66.4%, which represents “adequate” suitability. Individual websites were rated as superior (ie, 44.2%) adequate (ie, 51.9%), and not suitable (ie, 3.9%). No relation was found between website origin and the suitability ratings. The inter-rater reliability of the Suitability Assessment of Materials ratings for overall scale was found to be good. The suitability of websites had a moderate correlation with readability measures, but no significant correlation was observed between the suitability and quality of websites.
The study results suggest that overall suitability of websites on vocal hygiene are adequate. However, many websites may require improvements in some elements (eg, literacy demand, graphics, and learning stimulation). Readability, quality, and suitability are important components in the accessibility of health information for people with different health conditions. Hence, improvements in these elements are expected to improve the understanding and actionability of people with voice issues.