OBJECTIVES: This randomized case-control study compares teachers with self-reported voice problems to age-, gender-, and school-matched colleagues with self-reported voice health. The self-assessed voice function is related to factors known to influence the voice: laryngeal findings, voice quality, personality, psychosocial and coping aspects, searching for causative factors of voice problems in teachers. METHODS: Subjects and controls, recruited from a teacher group in an earlier questionnaire study, underwent examinations of the larynx by high-speed imaging and kymograms; voice recordings; voice range profile; audiometry; self-assessment of voice handicap and voice function; teaching and environmental aspects; personality; coping; burnout, and work-related issues. The laryngeal and voice recordings were assessed by experienced phoniatricians and speech pathologists. RESULTS: The subjects with self-assessed voice problems differed from their peers with self-assessed voice health by significantly longer recovery time from voice problems and scored higher on all subscales of the Voice Handicap Index-Throat. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that the cause of voice dysfunction in this group of teachers with self-reported voice problems is not found in the vocal apparatus or within the individual. The individual's perception of a voice problem seems to be based on a combination of the number of symptoms and of how often the symptoms occur, along with the recovery time. The results also underline the importance of using self-assessed reports of voice dysfunction.