Research Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 5, P805.e1-805.e12, September 2019

Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Self-reported Voice Problems Among Hindu Temple Priests

  • Usha Devadas
    Department of Speech and Hearing, School of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India
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  • Manisha Hegde
    Department of Speech-Language Sciences, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, India
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  • Santosh Maruthy
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Santosh Maruthy, Department of Speech-Language Sciences All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Naimisham Campus, Manasagangothri, Mysore, Karnataka 570006, India.
    Department of Speech-Language Sciences, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, India
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      Hindu priests (purohits/purohits/) perform religious services, rites, and prayers primarily at the temples, during which there is a continuous recitation of shlokas, ʃlokas, and mantras/mæntrəs/ in a loud voice. Hence, the voice is the primary component of priests' profession and earning for livelihood. The present study was conducted to explore the prevalence and possible risk factors, and the impact of voice problems (VPs) in Hindu temple priests.


      This cross-sectional survey was conducted by distributing the self-reporting questionnaires to 140 Hindu temple priests in and around the Udupi/uɖupi/ and Mangaluru/maŋgalu:ru/ districts of Karnataka state, India, between January and April 2016.


      The Hindu temple priests were found to have high career (43%) and point (19%) prevalence rates of VP. The length of work experience as a priest (>10years), modification of voice during chanting, speaking or chanting in the presence of throat infection, and experiencing dry mouth and throat were some of the risk factors found to have a significant association with high prevalence of self-reported VPs in priests. Around 43% of the priests missed their work at least 2–3 days because of VP.


      Overall, the results of this study reveal a high prevalence of self-reported VPs in Hindu priests and suggest that VPs are associated with different risk factors. Further studies are needed to focus on understanding the impact of VPs and to develop awareness about preventive vocal measures in this population.

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