Occupational voice users (OVU) are at risk for developing voice disorders (VD). Otolaryngologists need to advocate for workplace accommodations for these patients. The objective of this study was to assess the literature on VDs in the workplace and to describe how results may guide the Otolaryngologist.
EBSCO, PubMed, Google Scholar, UBC libraries, and SpringerLink databases.
The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis extension for Scoping Reviews protocol was used to conduct a scoping review from inception to December 30, 2019. Oxford Levels of Evidence were used to assess the quality of included studies. Common themes and types of accommodations and barriers were explored. This study was registered with the Open Science Framework Open Source for Collaboration in Scientific Research (10.17605/OSF.IO/RYDVN).
One hundred and ninety-three abstracts were screened; 32 studies met inclusion criteria. Oxford Levels of Evidence ranged from 3 to 5. Eight overarching themes were identified: prevalence of VDs among OVUs; identifying risk factors for VDs; raising awareness of VDs medico-legally, politically; the education and treatment of VDs, the importance of diagnosing VDs; measuring the impact of VDs on work productivity; identifying perceived barriers to integration into the workplace; and calculating the economic costs of VDs. VDs affect workplace productivity and have associated absenteeism, medical, and economic costs. Increased awareness and education on the risk factors for VD development can assist with prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Accommodations and barriers are discussed.
There is emerging literature on VDs in the workplace. A multitude of VDs exist with varying pathologies, associated barriers, and implications for functioning within the workplace. Otolaryngologists play a unique role in diagnosing voice disorders and defining and facilitating workplace accommodations.
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Published online: April 09, 2022
Accepted: March 10, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
Presentations: Poster presentation at the AAO-HNS Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, USA (October 3-6, 2021)
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