Prevalence of voice alteration among educators and its relationship with self-perception

OBJECTIVE: To verify the prevalence of self-reported voice alteration among educators in crèches, and associated factors. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional observational study carried out in 2001, in eight crèches in the city of São Paulo at which actions within the Crèche Program were being developed. This program formed part of the health promotion activities of a speech therapy investigation laboratory. The data collection was done by means of a questionnaire that was filled out by 93 educators, with questions on sociodemographic characteristics, aspects of the organization and physical environment of the work, habitual voice utilization, history of illnesses, lifestyle and perceptions regarding voice alterations. Assessment of hearing perception was done on the participants' voices. The statistical analysis utilized proportions, central trend measurements, Chi-square test with Yates correction and multiple logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Eighty percent of the educators reported that they had voice alterations, although only 26% had sought treatment. A large proportion (39%) reported that they had had their problem for four years or more, that it was intermittent (82%) and that they had it to a slight or moderate degree (74%). They believed that the main cause of voice alteration was their use of their voices (82%), and their principal symptom was hoarseness (54%). Self-reported voice alteration was statistically associated with presence of voice alteration observed during assessment and with having had some guidance on voice usage. CONCLUSIONS: Adequate perception among educators regarding their voice problems could become an important tool for future work among this population with a view to diminishing the high prevalence of voice alteration encountered.

Child day care centers; Voice disorders; Risk factors; Socioeconomic factors; Working conditions; Occupational health

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