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, 26 (1), 37-46

Review: Occupational Risks for Voice Problems

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  • PMID: 11432413

Review: Occupational Risks for Voice Problems

K Verdolini et al. Logoped Phoniatr Vocol.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a cohesive review of the literature regarding the functional consequences of voice problems and occupational risk factors for them. The salient points are as follows. According to conservative estimates, approximately 28,000,000 workers in the US experience daily voice problems. Many people who experience voice problems perceive them to have a negative impact on their work and their quality of life. Estimates based on empirical data suggest that, considering only lost work days and treatment expenses, the societal cost of voice problems in teachers alone may be of the order of about $2.5 billion annually in the US. In fact, across several countries, "teacher" consistently emerges as the common occupation most likely to seek otorhinolaryngological (ORL) evaluation for a voice problem. Other occupational categories likely to seek ORL examination for a voice problem are singer, counselor/social worker, lawyer, and clergy. Finally, US Census data indicate that keyboard operators may be at special risk for voice problems because of a near-epidemic growth of repetitive strain injury (RSI), which can adversely affect the voice especially when speech recognition software is implemented. This paper discusses frequency data, quality of life data, and treatment considerations for these voice-related occupational issues.

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