The impact of voice disorders among teachers : vocal complaints, treatment-seeking behavior, knowledge of vocal care, and voice-related absenteeism
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
New York, N.Y.
Journal of voice. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 570-575
University of Antwerp
Objectives. Teachers are at increased risk for developing voice disorders. Occupational risk factors have been extensively examined; however, little attention has been paid to the consequences of the vocal complaints. The objective of this study was to investigate the knowledge that teachers have about vocal care, treatment-seeking behavior, and voice-related absenteeism. Methods. The study group comprised 994 teachers and 290 controls whose jobs did not involve vocal effort. All participants completed a questionnaire inquiring about vocal complaints, treatment-seeking behavior, voice-related absenteeism, and knowledge about vocal care. Comparisons were made between teachers with and without vocal complaints and with the control group. Results. Teachers reported significantly more voice problems than the control population (51.2% vs 27.4%) (chi(2) = 50.45, df = 1, P<0.001). Female teachers reported significantly higher levels of voice disorders than their male colleagues (38% vs 13.2%, chi(2) = 22.34, df = 1, P<0.001). Teachers (25.4%) sought medical care and eventually 20.6% had missed at least 1 day of work because of voice problems. Female teachers were significantly more likely to seek medical help (chi(2) = 7.24, df = 1, P = 0.007) and to stay at home (chi(2) = 7.10, df = 1, P = 0.008) in comparison with their male colleagues. Only 13.5% of all teachers received information during their education. Conclusions. Voice disorders have an impact on teachers' personal and professional life and imply a major financial burden for society. A substantial number of teachers needed medical help and was obligated to stay at home because of voice problems. This study strongly recommends the implementation of vocal education during the training of teacher students to prepare the vocal professional user.