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Open AccessArticle

Relevant Work Factors Associated with Voice Disorders in Early Childhood Teachers: A Comparison between Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers in Yancheng, China

1
Department of Preschool Education, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng 224002, China
2
Department of Health Promotion and Health Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3081; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093081
Received: 11 March 2020 / Revised: 16 April 2020 / Accepted: 25 April 2020 / Published: 28 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Workplace Health and Wellbeing 2020)
Background: Early childhood teachers consist of kindergarten and elementary school teachers in the lower grades. Young children at school may increase the vocal load of these teachers. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of voice disorders and the associated factors in early childhood teachers, and to determine if differences exist between kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Method: A cross-sectional survey was performed in July 2019 as a network questionnaire. Through cluster sampling, teachers (n = 414) from all five public kindergartens (n = 211) in the urban area of Yancheng, China, and four public elementary schools (n = 203) in the same school district participated in this study. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to analyze the associations among the prevalence of voice disorders in the teachers, school type, and relevant factors. Results: Our results indicated, based on the Voice Handicap Index scale (VHI-10, China), that the prevalence of voice disorders in early childhood teachers was 59.7%, while that in elementary school teachers (65.5%) was significantly higher than that in kindergarten teachers (54.0%) during the previous semester. Contributing factors included daily class hours, classroom air humidity, and speaking loudly during teaching. Additionally, certain types of voice usage in teaching such as falsetto speak, speaking more than other teachers, not using vocal techniques, and habitual voice clearing, were significantly associated with voice disorders. Conclusion: Most early childhood teachers have voice disorders. Compared with the kindergarten teachers, the elementary school teachers experienced a significantly higher prevalence of voice disorders. Several factors among work organization, work environment, and types of voice usage in teaching were associated with the voice disorders in early childhood teachers. The finding suggests that voice training should be provided for early childhood teachers, classroom teaching time should be decreased, and the number of teachers in basic subjects should be increased in the lower grades of elementary schools. View Full-Text
Keywords: vocal load; network questionnaire; Voice Handicap Index; daily class hours; types of voice usage vocal load; network questionnaire; Voice Handicap Index; daily class hours; types of voice usage
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Tao, Y.; Lee, C. .-C.; Hu, Y.-J.; Liu, Q. Relevant Work Factors Associated with Voice Disorders in Early Childhood Teachers: A Comparison between Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers in Yancheng, China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3081.

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