When the school year ends, many teachers feel relieved about their voices, and it’s because according to the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology, it’s estimated that 75% of teachers experience dysphonia at some point in their professional lives. Voice issues and dysphonia in teachers, as you can see, are very common.
Voice for teachers represents one of the main pillars to perform their profession correctly, as they need to convey information to the student in an appropriate manner.
Dysphonias are voice disorders that hinder speaking clearly and effectively.
Factors that can cause voice issues in teachers:
- Excessive use or vocal abuse: Teachers tend to use their voices continuously and sometimes in unfavorable conditions, such as speaking in noisy environments where they strain their voices to be heard in the classroom. This can lead to vocal cord strain and result in dysphonia.
- Poor vocal technique: Some teachers do not use proper vocal technique when speaking, which can put additional strain on the vocal cords.
- Environmental factors: The working environment for teachers can be noisy or have poor acoustics, forcing them to speak louder or strain their voices to be heard.
- Stress and vocal fatigue: Work overload, emotional stress, and lack of rest can affect the vocal quality of teachers. Physical and mental exhaustion can cause the voice to become weak, hoarse, rough, or strained.
It is important for teachers to take care of their voice and take preventive measures to avoid the development of dysphonia.
Recommendations to prevent the onset of dysphonia in teachers:
- Perform vocal warm-up exercises before starting work.
- Engage in vocal cool-down exercises at the end of the workday.
- Avoid speaking in noisy environments or straining the voice to be heard.
- Maintain good hydration by drinking enough water.
- Rest adequately and avoid excessive workload.
If experiencing persistent or recurrent symptoms of dysphonia such as changes in vocal quality, pain, or discomfort while speaking, I recommend seeking medical attention (Otorhinolaryngologist for laryngostroboscopy to assess the state of the larynx) and contacting a speech therapist specialized in voice.
Here is a link to an interview conducted by the College of Speech Therapists of Madrid, where I discussed voice issues in teachers.