Objective: The purpose of the study was to investigate the prevalence of voice disorders and associated risk factors among primary school teachers in Hong Kong.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted based on a random sample of 20 primary schools in Hong Kong. A total of 714 full-time primary school teachers were invited to participate in the survey. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire addressing the prevalence of voice disorders and potential risk factors. Stepwise logistic regression was used to assess the associations between voice disorders and the different risk factors.
Results: The response rate for the questionnaire was 69.7% (498/714). Among the teachers who responded, 348 (69.9%) had suffered from a voice disorder in the past 12 mo. Thirty-one teachers (8.9%) rated their voice disorders as minimal, 124 (35.6%) as mild, 151 (43.4%) as moderate, and 42 (12.1%) as severe. Of the 348 teachers reporting voice disorders, 215 (61.8%) had sought professional help for their voice problems. The univariate analyses showed that the factors significantly associated with voice disorders included talking quietly (p=0.018), using a microphone (p=0.002), speaking against background noise (p<0.001), consuming alcohol (p=0.027), and having a history of asthma (p=0.001), colds (p=0.012), sinusitis (p=0.039), or laryngitis (p<0.001). After adjusting for potential confounds, the significant risk factors included speaking against background noise (adjusted OR=1.8), alcohol consumption (adjusted OR=0.40), history of asthma (adjusted OR=3.3), or laryngitis (adjusted OR=4.2).
Conclusions: Approximately 70% of the sampled primary school teachers were affected by voice disorders. A substantial proportion of the effected teachers suffered both functional and psychological adverse effects. The findings indicate an urgent need for further investigation to identify the risk factors for voice disorders and to develop preventive strategies