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Nusseck, Manfred; Spahn, Claudia; Echternach, Matthias; Immerz, Anna; Richter, Bernhard (2020): Vocal Health, Voice Self-concept and Quality of Life in German School Teachers. In: Journal of Voice, Vol. 34, No. 3, 488.e29
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Objectives. For school teachers, the voice is a mandatory occupational tool during teaching. Several studies, however, proved that teachers are at high risk of developing voice disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the voice health, voice self-concept, and quality of life in German teachers. Methods. In a cross-sectional study 536 German school teachers had a laryngeal examination, acoustic voice measurements to determine the Dysphonia Severity Index and filled in a self-reporting questionnaire with the Voice Handicap Index-12), the voice self-concept (Fragebogen zur Erfassung des Stimmlichen Selbstkonzepts), and the general quality of life (SF-12). Results. A total of 58.3% of the teachers reported that they had experienced a voice problem at least once in their career. Female teachers had more often experienced voice problems than male teachers. Twenty-five percent showed a current considerable voice abnormality of vocal fold oscillation pattern. Such voice abnormalities were observed more in male teachers than female teachers. The Dysphonia Severity Index also differed between gender with higher values in the female teachers and a steadily decreasing value over age. The voice self-concept showed differences between gender and age of the teachers. Teachers who experienced a voice problem had higher Voice Handicap Index and lower voice self-concept values compared to those without experienced voice problems. Teachers with voice abnormalities had lower values in the quality of life scales. Conclusions. The findings confirm the high risk of voice health problems among German teachers and illustrate the complexity of vocal health and quality of life issues in teachers associated with gender, age, and the history of experienced voice problems. This study strengthens the necessity for vocal training programs to prepare teachers for a professional and healthy voice use to maintain vocal health.