Factors Associated With the Limitation at Work Because of the Voice: Study With Teachers of Basic Education In Brazil

Published:November 17, 2020DOI:



      The voice disorder can cause limitations at work, as it affects the communication and the performance of the teaching function.


      To analyze the limitation at work because of the voice and to examine possible associations with sociodemographic characteristics, life and health habits and work conditions among Basic Education teachers in Brazil.


      Cross-sectional epidemiological study, with a representative sample, carried out between October 2015 and March 2016, with 6,324 teachers working in Basic Education in Brazil. Data collection was carried out through the application of a questionnaire via telephone with questions regarding health and working conditions. The “limitation at work because of the voice” was considered a dependent variable, whose response options were a scale with four Likert items that varied from frequently to never. The independent variables were grouped in blocks for ordinal logistic regression analysis with hierarchical entry. The magnitude of the association was assessed by the Odds Ratio (OR) with the respective confidence intervals (95% CI).


      One third of Brazilian teachers (32.7%) reported some frequency of limitation at work (sometimes; rarely, frequently) because of the voice at some moment in the month before the survey and, of these, 5% declared high frequency. The factors that increased the chance of a greater frequency of limitation at work because of the voice were: being female (OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.15–1.51); teaching for elementary school (OR = 1.35; 95% CI = 1.02–1.78); use anxiolytic or antidepressant medications (OR = 1.46; 95% CI = 1.20–1.78); losing sleep due to concerns (OR = 1.69; CI = 95% = 1.46–1.95); high noise at school (OR = 2.09; 95% CI = 1.78–2.46); agitated environment by students' indiscipline (OR = 1.37; 95% CI =1.15–1.63); high demands at work (OR = 1.18; 95% CI = 1.02–1.36); not having social support (OR = 1.19; 95% CI = 1.04–1.38); having suffered verbal violence by the students (OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.23–1.67). On the other hand, the practice of regular physical activity (OR = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.75–1.00) and the fact of having enough time to complete work tasks (OR = 0.71; 95% CI = 0,62–0.82) decreased the chance of a higher frequency of limitation at work due to vocal problems. The perception that the work limits the teaching performance because of the voice was more frequent among teachers in the North (OR=1.41; 95% CI = 1.17–1.71) and Northeast (OR=1.46; 95% CI = 1.22–1.76) compared to the Southeast region.


      Factors associated with an increase in the chance of higher frequency of reporting work limitations due to the voice: being female, lack of physical activity, losing sleep due to concern, using anxiolytic or antidepressant medication, school location in the North and Northeast, teaching for the elementary school stage, high noise at school and psychosocial aspects of work organization. The Brazilian educational sector needs public policies that take into account regional inequalities and the health and work conditions of teachers.

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