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Voice disorders in teachers

Lea Ficko (2014) Voice disorders in teachers. Diploma thesis.

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    Voice and speech are the result of coordination of many organic systems; upper and lower respiratory tract including the throat, central and peripheral nervous system and articulators. A voice disorder can become an occupational disease, including functional dysphonia which can affect the quality of life of people who talk a lot at work. Teacher and pedagogical workers belong to a group of occupations with severe vocal loading and they experience overload of speech organs. This can lead to hoarseness and other voice disorders. The prevalence of voice disorders in pedagogical workers in Slovenia was in 2004 estimated to 66%. The purpose of this thesis was to establish the frequency of voice disorders in a group of teachers 10 years after a similar research already done in Slovenia. The goal was to find the causes for these voice disorders and how bad speaking habits affect the occurrence of voice disorders. I gathered information with the help of a questionnaire from 117 teacher from municipalities Kamnik and Komenda to establish the frequency of voice disorders, bad speaking habits and techniques. The questions were about their age, sex, years of employment, hours of pedagogical work and hours of speaking at work and at home, problems with their voice and seeking professional help, sick leave, appropriate hydration at work, allergies and stomach problems, frequency of respiratory infections, students with hearing problems and students with behavioural problems in their class or group. On the basis of returned questionnaire I divided the teachers into two groups; those with frequent voice disorders and those without voice disorders. In these two groups I compared the bad speaking habits that affect the quality of voice. I invited a group of teacher for further research and 22 decided to cooperate. I observed their way of communication and speaking while teaching and later while conducting individual interviews. I compared the results from the questionnaires with my observations. I was trying to find various factors that could influence the frequency of voice disorders. I also compared how the teachers described their voice with my observations of their voice and speech. The results have shown that the percentage of teachers with voice disorders is the same as 10 years ago - almost 65% of teachers have voice disorders once or more times a year. The voice disorders in 12,8% were the result of some kind of strain on the speech organs, in 35,9% as the result of getting over respiratory infection, in 42,7% because of the both factors previously mentioned. 27,4% of teachers have already taken sick leave because of the voice disorders at least once in their career but only 32,5% of the teachers have sought out the help of a professional. The majority of teachers, almost 70%, know what to do to improve their bad speaking habits and how to prevent voice disorders. Nevertheless the results have shown that 13,7% of the teachers frequently yell, 59% of the teachers speak too loud, 42,7%of the teachers say that they speak too quickly. Observing the teachers in the classroom or while talking to them has shown that 30-40% of the teachers has inappropriately described their speaking habits and therefore the percentage of bad speaking habits may be even higher. A good indicator is that only a small percentage of teachers smoke (9,4%) or consumes fizzy drinks or caffeine (3,4%). Statistically important factors that are more common with teachers with voice disorders are frequent coughing and tension in the neck while talking. The fact that hoarseness is influenced by speaking fast and drinking alcoholic drinks was very close to being statistically important. The group of teachers with voice disorders had a bigger number of unfavorable factors for the voice than the group of teachers without voice disorders. The fact that teachers in primary schools are becoming more and more educated on the subject of how to keep a healthy voice is the reason for improving the knowledge of general vocal hygiene. I think that already while studying to become teachers the faculties should provide students with classes on the correct speech techniques and how to prevent and treat voice disorders. The faculties should also check if the students are fit to become teachers because of the huge vocal loading. Maybe this could prevent or at least reduce the occurrence of voice disorders in teachers.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: voice, voice disorders, teacher, occupation
    Number of Pages: 55
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Irena Hočevar BoltežarMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10298697)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2604
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 09:44
    Last Modified: 19 Nov 2014 09:44
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2604

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