The voice handicap of student-teachers and risk factors perceived to have a negative influence on the voice

George Thomas, Piet G C Kooijman, A Rogier T Donders, W R J Cremers, Felix I C R S de Jong
Journal of Voice 2007, 21 (3): 325-36
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed. The objectives of the study were to assess the psychosocial impact of current voice complaints as perceived by student-teachers with voice complaints in comparison with student-teachers without voice complaints, and to observe the pattern of risk factors in relation to their voice handicap. Subjects in the general population without a voice-demanding profession were selected as a reference group for limited comparison with the total group of student-teachers (future professional voice users). The respondents to the questionnaires were anonymous. Among the student-teachers, 17.2% reported current voice complaints in comparison with 9.7% of the reference group, and the odds ratio was 1.94, which showed the relative risk. Student-teachers had significantly greater total Voice Handicap Index (VHI) scores than the reference group (P = 0.034). The VHI subscale scores were not significantly different (P > 0.05). Student-teachers who reported current voice complaints had a significantly higher total VHI and subscale scores than student teachers without voice complaints (P < 0.001). Of the student-teachers without voice complaints, 17.0% had VHI scores greater than the 75th percentile. These persons may be neglecting their voice handicap and probably represent the false-negative cases in the estimation of voice complaints. Logistic regression analysis of each of the given risk factors with the VHI as the independent variable showed that the perceived negative influence of the given risk factors on their voices was significantly greater with increasing VHI scores across the VHI range. A significant correlation was observed between the number of perceived risk factors and increasing VHI scores across the VHI range. An increased awareness of risk factors in relation to their voice handicap would serve to motivate student-teachers to change factors that contributed to their voice problem. Attention to all risk factors, which the subjects perceive to be a risk, would aid in effective management of their voice handicap.

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