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Prevalence of Voice Disorders in School Teachers in a District in South India

Publisher : Journal of Voice

Year : 2019

Abstract : Background: Many professions tend to carry inherent risks for the practitioners. In such cases, it becomes mandatory for them to be aware of the risks and counselled about the preventive measures. The inevitable first step, however, is to ascertain the burden of risk. In the case of school teachers, it is known that they are prone to voice disorders of varying hues, at some point of their career. There should be an attempt to find the prevalence in the community. Presently, there is no such data documented from Kerala, a highly literate State in southern India. Aim and Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to document the prevalence of subjective dysphonia among the school teacher community. The secondary objective was to compare the prevalence and severity of dysphonia between primary and secondary school teachers. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 28 schools, using a screening questionnaire, based on similar ones used in other studies. All the schools were in the city of Kochi, the largest and most populous metropolitan area in Kerala. Teachers reporting a current voice complaint at the time of study were administered the validated vernacular version of the voice handicap index questionnaire (VHI 30). The completed questionnaires were collected and statistically analyzed. Results: The screening questionnaire was administered to 702 teachers; 165 were Primary school teachers (Class I–V), 242 Secondary (Class VI–XII), while 279 teachers had to take classes in both sections. The reported prevalence was 45.4% for present difficulty related to their voice, 52.8% for some voice problem in the last 1 year, and 70.1% for problems experienced during the duration of their teaching career. Possible risk factors like age, total years of teaching, hours of daily teaching and number of students taught did not show any significant association with voice problem. Conclusions: Nearly, half of all the screened school teachers reported a current voice problem, increasing to nearly three-fourths for symptoms during entire career. This is clearly a significant burden which must be addressed at various levels. The secondary school teachers seem to bear a bigger burden in this study. © 2019 The Voice Foundation

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