The primary objective of this study was to examine how a group of Swedish teachers rate aspects of their working environment that can be presumed to have an impact on vocal behavior and voice problems. The secondary objective was to explore the prevalence of voice problems in Swedish teachers.
Questionnaires were distributed to the teachers of 23 randomized schools. Teaching staff at all levels were included, except preschool teachers and teachers at specialized, vocational high schools. The response rate was 73%.
The results showed that 13% of the whole group reported voice problems occurring sometimes, often, or always. The teachers reporting voice problems were compared with those without problems. There were significant differences among the groups for several items. The teachers with voice problems rated items on room acoustics and work environment as more noticeable. This group also reported voice symptoms, such as hoarseness, throat clearing, and voice change, to a significantly higher degree, even though teachers in both groups reported some voice symptoms. Absence from work because of voice problems was also significantly more common in the group with voice problems—35% versus 9% in the group without problems.
We may conclude that teachers suffering from voice problems react stronger to loading factors in the teaching environment, report more frequent symptoms of voice discomfort, and are more often absent from work because of voice problems than their voice-healthy colleagues.
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Published online: March 26, 2010
Accepted: December 10, 2009
© 2011 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.