Teachers spend their entire day educating young minds, but that effort may come at a cost. Nearly 50 percent of all teachers suffer from voice problems at some point in their careers. Despite the fact that they make up only 4 percent of the workforce in the U.S., they account for almost 20 percent of the patient population in voice centers.
“That’s most likely because teachers speak considerably more than the average person, and often in a noisy classroom,” says John Sinacori, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology at EVMS. “They are also exposed to students with colds, which can create havoc on the voice.”
While vocal problems are a problem for the teacher, they can also impact students. Children, especially those under the age of 15, lack language experience to fill in the gaps when they miss just a word or two of their teacher’s message. Especially at risk are children with even mild hearing loss, English language learners and students with learning problems.
Currently, there aren’t many programs in place to prepare teachers for these problems. “Teach education programs do not include information about healthful voice production,” says Dr. Sinacori. “That’s something that needs to be fixed.”
To learn more about what education professionals can do to avoid vocal problems, make an appointment with Dr. Sinacori’s team by calling 757.388.6200 or visit EVMS Otolaryngology online.