Self-reported voice symptoms and voice handicap during virtual teaching compared to face-to-face teaching : A survey-based study on Swedish teachers in high schools and institutions of higher education

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Blom Johansson: Logopedi

Sammanfattning: Purpose: Since the beginning of 2020, teachers all over the world have had to switch over to virtual teaching because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This change of teaching mode has unknown consequences on the vocal health of teachers. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate teachers’ self-reported voice problems during virtual teaching compared to face-to-face teaching and how they are associated to perceived risk factors in the work environment. Method: Participants included 141 teachers in high schools and higher education in Sweden who responded to an internet-based survey. Information was collected about participants’ self-reported voice handicap using a translated version of the Voice Handicap Index-10 (VHI-10; Rosen et al., 2004). Information about self-reported VTD (Vocal Tract Discomfort) symptoms and dysphonia was collected in regard to both modes of teaching (virtual vs. face-to-face). The survey also included questions on risk factors related to vocal health. Results: Self-reported voice handicap and VTD symptoms were slightly lower during periods of virtual teaching compared to periods of face-to-face teaching. There was a lower frequency of dysphonia symptoms during virtual teaching compared to face-to-face teaching, however the difference was not statistically significant. In addition, 34% of teachers reported experiencing more voice problems when teaching face-to-face while 15% reported more voice problems when teaching virtually. The most reported VTD symptoms during both virtual and face to face teaching were having a dry and a tight throat. The dysphonia symptoms with the highest reported frequency were a tense voice and hoarseness in both modes of teaching. Risk factors associated with higher prevalence of voice symptoms and/or higher levels of voice handicap during virtual teaching were air quality and straining the voice while lecturing. In addition, experiencing more voice problems while teaching virtually was associated with feeling more stressed during virtual teaching. Conclusion: The results showed a slight decrease in voice symptoms and voice handicap during virtual teaching compared to face-to-face teaching. Although multifactorial, results suggest that a potential positive effect may be attributed to better air quality in the work environment and more favourable acoustic conditions preventing teachers from straining their voice.

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