The study aimed to describe daily vocal demands, perceptions and knowledge as reported by occupational voice users.
A descriptive, cross-sectional research design was employed.
A survey on vocal demands, perceptions and knowledge was distributed to 102 occupational voice users via a snowball sampling technique.
Slightly more than half of the participants (55%) reported using their voice for work 36.5 hours a week on average (SD = 15.5, range: 33–40). Participants reported that, on average, their daily voice use is 6.3 hours (SD = 2.7) for work and the majority (81%) reported a decrease in voice quality after work; Three-quarters (75%) also reported vocal fatigue at the end of day. Approximately one-third (33%) reported being exposed to environments where they are expected to shout, scream or cheer loudly. More than half of the participants (61%) reported that they have previously received vocal health education but 40% reported that they felt this training was insufficient. High vocal demands are significantly correlated to an increase in perceived vocal handicap rs = 0.242; (P = 0.018), tiredness of voice rs = 0.270; (P = 0.008), physical discomfort rs = 0.217; (P = 0.038) as well as how occupational voice users experience improvement of symptoms with rest rs = −0.356 (P < 0.001). Other risk factors highlighted by occupational voice users are the ingestion of liquid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks, smoking or the presence of chronic cough, chronic laryngitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Occupational voice users are subjected to high daily vocal demands that can be seen to be linked to vocal fatigue, changes in voice quality and vocal symptoms experienced. It is essential that occupational voice users as well as treating clinicians are aware of certain significant predictors of both vocal handicap and vocal fatigue. These findings provide insights for developing strategies for training and cultivating vocal health consciousness and preventive voice care initiatives that focus on occupational voice users in South Africa.
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Published online: February 25, 2023
Accepted: January 25, 2023
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
Funding sources: The University of Pretoria.
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