Voice Disorders in Teachers and the General Population Effects on Work Performance, Attendance, and Future Career Choices Research Article
Research Article  |   June 2004
Voice Disorders in Teachers and the General Population
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nelson Roy
    The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Ray M. Merrill
    Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Susan Thibeault
    The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Steven D. Gray
    The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Elaine M. Smith
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 2004
Voice Disorders in Teachers and the General Population
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 542-551. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/042)
History: Received September 16, 2003 , Accepted October 3, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 542-551. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/042)
History: Received September 16, 2003; Accepted October 3, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 113

To examine the frequency and adverse effects of voice disorders on job performance and attendance in teachers and the general population, 2,401 participants from Iowa and Utah (n1=1,243 teachers and n2=1,279 nonteachers) were randomly selected and were interviewed by telephone using a voice disorder questionnaire. Teachers were significantly more likely than nonteachers to have experienced multiple voice symptoms and signs including hoarseness, discomfort, and increased effort while using their voice, tiring or experiencing a change in voice quality after short use, difficulty projecting their voice, trouble speaking or singing softly, and a loss of their singing range (all odds ratios [ORs] p<.05). Furthermore, teachers consistently attributed these voice symptoms to their occupation and were significantly more likely to indicate that their voice limited their ability to perform certain tasks at work, and had reduced activities or interactions as a result. Teachers, as compared with nonteachers, had missed more workdays over the preceding year because of voice problems and were more likely to consider changing occupations because of their voice (all comparisons p<.05). These findings strongly suggest that occupationally related voice dysfunction in teachers can have significant adverse effects on job performance, attendance, and future career choices.

Acknowledgments
This article is dedicated to the memory of Steven D.Gray, MD, our dear friend and colleague who passed away in September 2002. Dr. Gray dedicated his professional life to helping individuals with voice disorders. It was a privilege to have known and worked with Steve. His deep commitment to his family, his faith, and science served as a model and inspiration for all of us. Steve’s wisdom, sense of humor, and truly unselfish character will be missed more than words can convey.
This work was supported in part by the National Center for Voice and Speech through Grant R01-DC02285-01A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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