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J Voice. 1998 Dec;12(4):489-99.

Vocal problems among teachers: a review of prevalence, causes, prevention, and treatment.

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School of Human Communication Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


Voice disorders are thought to be one of the major occupational hazards of school teaching. The resulting symptoms can affect teachers' ability to function in the classroom and prevent them from developing effective working relationships with other staff and students. Sick leave, speech pathology management, and surgical intervention can be costly. Severe voice problems can also result in a teacher permanently leaving the classroom. Despite the significant implications of voice disorders for teachers, this review of published research demonstrates that findings concerning the prevalence of voice problems in teachers and the causes and contributing factors of those voice problems are inconclusive. Similarly, previous research on the efficacy of prevention programs and treatment of voice problems in teachers provide few firm conclusions. Further research based on sound empirical data is needed, as many past studies have relied on anecdotal or self-report data. More operational definitions of what constitutes a voice disorder and the associated contributing factors should be adopted, along with the use of more instrumental measures and careful attention to methodology and appropriate statistical analyses. Only then will we have a sound basis for the development of effective prevention and education programs for teachers.

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