School teachers' vocal use, risk factors, and voice disorder prevalence: guidelines to detect teachers with current voice problems

Rosa M Bermúdez de Alvear, Francisco Javier Barón, Antonio Ginés Martínez-Arquero
Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 2011, 63 (4): 209-15

UNLABELLED: Teachers' voice problems are widely recognized as a consequence of their work. The measurement of vocal demands and risk factors is essential for adjusting occupational safety and health services to this population's needs.

OBJECTIVES: To correlate vocal behavior and symptomatology with risk factors and voice disorders, and to further analyze gender influence on these variables.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 282 kindergarten and elementary education teachers were surveyed in a cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire. For the purpose of this study, voice disorder prevalence was estimated based on the presence of a vocal effort plus 2 frequent symptoms.

RESULTS: 81.5% of teachers reported some degree of vocal effort; more than 60% of subjects evidenced frequent throat paresthesias or vocal fatigue at the end of a working day, and about 55% reported hoarseness. Voice disorder prevalence was 59%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that female gender, time required to alleviate vocal symptoms, perceived general state of health, prolonged use of the voice, and pupils' indiscipline significantly increased the odds of having vocal problems.

CONCLUSIONS: Voice disorders affected most teachers and had a multifactorial nature. Vocal health care is particularly necessary for those subjects reporting vocal effort and more than 2 frequent symptoms.

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