Voice Disorders in Teachers and the General Population: Effects on Work Performance, Attendance, and Future Career Choices

Roy, Nelson; Merrill, Ray M.; Thibeault, Susan; Gray, Steven D.; Smith, Elaine M.
June 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2004, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p542
Academic Journal
To examine the frequency and adverse effects of voice disorders on job performance and attendance in teachers and the general population, 2,401 participants from Iowa and Utah (n1 = 1,243 teachers and n2 = 1,279 nonteachers) were randomly selected and were interviewed by telephone using a voice disorder questionnaire Teachers were significantly more likely than nonteachers to have experienced multiple voice symptoms and signs including hoarseness, discomfort, and increased effort while using their voice, tiring or experiencing a change in voice quality after short use, difficulty projecting their voice, trouble speaking or singing softly, and a loss of their singing range (all odds ratios [ORs] p < .05). Furthermore, teachers consistently attributed these voice symptoms to their occupation and were significantly more likely to indicate that their voice limited their ability to perform certain tasks at work, and had reduced activities or interactions as a result. Teachers, as compared with nonteachers, had missed more workdays over the preceding year because of voice problems and were more likely to consider changing occupations because of their voice (all comparisons p < .05). These findings strongly suggest that occupationally related voice dysfunction in teachers con hove significant adverse effects on job performance, attendance, and future career choices.


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