Potential Risk Factors and Prevalence of Voice Symptoms in Students Starting Their Teacher Education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of the present study was to determine prevalence of voice problems and potential risk factors in teacher students at the start of their education. A total of 1494 students from seven teacher education schools participated in the study. The students answered a questionnaire about 11 risk factors, and one with six questions about voice symptoms, Screen6, and 30 statements in the Voice Handicap Index (VHI). Students reporting at least 2 weekly voice symptoms in Screen6 were assigned to the group with voice problems. Significance level was P < 0.05. Results: prevalence of risk factors was about the same in the seven groups of teacher students except the group with highest proportion of women that also showed the highest proportion of voice problems, 38%. Prevalence of voice problems in the total group was 17%. Comparison of students with or without voice problems showed that all factors except one were more prevalent among students with voice problems and women were overrepresented. Mean total VHI score was 22 in students with voice problems and eight in students without voice problems. Multiple regression analyses showed that frequent throat infections, hearing problems, previous speech therapy, or voice training were the potential risk factors that had the strongest association with voice symptoms as well as with total score in VHI. Conclusions: results from this study show that it is common that teacher students experience voice problems already at the start of their education and potential risk factors associated with voice problems are identified. Knowing that teaching is a high-risk profession for developing voice disorders, it is crucial that teacher students should receive compulsory preprofessional voice education including voice ergonomics and voice training.


  • Ann Christine Ohlsson
  • Gun Demitz-Helin
  • Ann Christin Furu
  • Inger Hällgren
  • Suvi Karjalainen
External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Jönköping University
  • University of Helsinki
  • Umeå University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pedagogical Work
  • Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified


  • Potential risk factors, Prevalence of voice symptoms, Screen6, Teacher students, Voice Handicap Index
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Voice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication categoryResearch