VOICE DISORDERS IN TEACHERS AS VOICE PROFFESIONALS - THE RESEARCH FINDINGS FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

K. Vitásková, T. Kavková, K. Jehličková

Palacký University in Olomouc, Faculty of Education (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Introduction:
The paper is focused on the voice disorders in so called voice professionals, especially in teachers. Then main reason of our specific interest in voice is the fact that voice professionals are at risk of losing their professional career because of the difficulties, or even total loss, of their voice as a their main professional tool.

Methodology:
From the perspective of speech language therapy and special needs education, the authors introduce the results of their research focusing on teachers of elementary schools (teachers of children from 6 to 15 years of age) and compare them with their previous research findings international research. The Voice Handicap Index (VHI) international questionnaire, standardised for the Czech Republic and additional self-constructed questionnaire were used as principal methods, so the quantitative data could be compared and discussed, based on more than 100 participants in the research sample.

Results:
Despite the fact that only mild voice difficulties were perceived or objectively diagnosed thus far in the research sample of teachers from elementary school in the Czech Republic, the age differences were found, together with possible etiological relations to female aging difficulties. The differences between first and second grade of elementary school teachers were also discussed and compared with other research findings from the Czech Republic and worldwide (including our research findings in voice professionals). The discussion of subjectively more sensitive perception of the voice imperfections in the group of elementary school teachers is also added.

Conclusion:
There are changes in the voice difficulties and disorders perception in the group of teachers of elementary school we were evaluated by the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) questionnaire. We believe that additional qualitative analysis, together with special and specific recommendation (vocal hygiene, list of specialists and possible treatment, voice disorders symptoms description) for teachers of elementary school may help to protect not only their voice, but especially their professional career to be functional and effective. The implications to the continuing professional development of teachers as voice professionals are explained.