Voice Screening Assessment Report and Analysis
Teachers are professional voice users and their voice is probably their most important teaching tool. Teachers place demands on their voices that non-professional voice users do not and these demands can lead to voice disorders such as hoarseness, laryngitis and even the development of vocal nodules (Eastely, 2003). In Australia and throughout the world, research shows that up to 20% of teachers experience voice problems each year. Teachers are between three and five times more likely to experience voice problems than the general population and are staggeringly 32 times more likely to report voice problems than the general population (Pemberton, 2001).
Voice care is obviously an important issue for all teachers to consider, as a voice disorder does not only affect performance in the classroom but also may result in loss of work, increased health care costs, and affect a teacher’s social and emotional well-being (Eastely, 2003).
Vanessa Aird, Speech Pathologist for Cortex Communication Partners preformed a screening test of my voice on the 25.08.2011. The task included a voice symptom scale, reading of a short passage, one minute monologue, timing of phonation, counting from one to ten and singing notes stepwise up and down a scale. Upon completion, the test concluded that in the majority of the categories assessed I displayed normal results however in the category of ‘quality’ it revealed that I displayed mild hoarseness in my voice.
In the classroom the most important thing a teacher can do is be aware of their voice and tocontinually reflect on their voice use (Eastley, 2003). Vanessa and I discussed my vocal hygiene habits to employ, as my voice is prone to developing voice disorders in the teaching industry. One major variable that we discussed was dehydration that affects the vocal cords and the importance to keep up hydration during the day to prevent getting a dry throat. We discussed my own voice behaviours including avoiding clearing my throat excessively and correct breathing technique that will help in investing in care of my voice.
Another effective strategy discussed was the need not to strain/raise my voice to gain students attention, and that clapping, using a noise maker such as an instrument or simply by adjusting the layout of the classroom to reduce the distance between the students and I will help in preventing voice disorders. Vanessa communicated the significance of always warming up the voice at the beginning of the day by implementing a few drills such as breathing, humming and singing notes up and down a scale.
I felt that increasing my awareness of what behaviours may be harmful to my voice will help me prevent some voice disorders from developing in the future.
More information on voice care can be accessed through:
Taking Care of Your Voice- Tips for Teachers
Click the link below to hear Lisa Harris, Senior speech and language therapist from Tralee Primary Health Care Services discuss useful strategies for taking care of your voice which is especially aimed at teachers and other people who use their voice professionally.