European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology vol:263 issue:4 pages:370-380
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was performed to compare female student teachers (454 subjects; 1st to 4th year of training) and practicing teachers (82 female teachers; 1st to 4th year of teaching career) of primary education early in their career, with regard to risk factors perceived to be a negative influence on the voice, and the relative risk of the given risk factors for voice complaints. This enables the observation of whether there is a sudden increase or difference in the perceived risk factors after starting a professional teaching career. Additionally, the existence of a history of voice problems during training was questioned among the teachers. Teachers with voice complaints compared to teachers without voice complaints reported a history of voice complaints during their training (P = 0.013). Teachers compared to student teachers reported more voice complaints at the moment and/or during the past year (P = 0.002). The following data were obtained from student teachers and teachers reporting voice complaints. Only around a third of the subjects of both groups sought voice care (P = 0.286-0.893). Risk factors were estimated in relation to voice complaints. Student teachers reported less frequently than teachers that stress (P = 0.014), work pressure (P = 0.003) and the composition of the class (P = 0.013) have a negative influence on their voice. Student teachers reported less frequently than teachers that the number of people they communicate with (P < 0.001) and the deterioration of their general physical condition (P = 0.010) have a negative influence on their voice. Student teachers reported more frequently than teachers that environmental irritants (P < 0.001). and humidity (P = 0.020) of the classroom have a negative influence on their voice. Student teachers more than teachers were of the opinion that the attention paid to the voice during their training was sufficient (P < 0.001). To test whether professional status (student teacher versus teacher) is an effect modifier for the risk factors, odds ratios (OR) were compared between the group of teachers and of student teachers (total group with and without voice complaints) to search for interactions between the risk factors and professional status. There is a significant difference in the pattern of risk factors for student teachers and teachers (P = 0.010). There is an indication that vocal loading factors and environmental factors are more influential in student teachers and that there is a tendency for psycho-emotional factors to be more influential for teachers early in their career.