Pathophysiology: A voice disorder can be defined as a problem involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality of the sound produced by the larynx, more commonly known as the voice box. Almost every disorder may present in more than one symptom and one cannot associate one single symptom with one specific voice disorder. Severity of the voice symptoms varies according to the disorder and the individual. Voice disorders may be present in both adults and children.
Disease Statistics:The prevalence of voice disorders among teaching staff was 57%. The most prevalent lesions were vocal overstrain (18%), nodular lesions (14%), and hyperfunctional dysphonia (8%). The incidence rate was 3.87 new cases per year per 1000 teachers. The prevalence of speech sound disorder in young children is 8 to 9 percent. By the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders; the majority of these speech disorders have no known cause.
Treatment: A voice disorder often requires both medical treatment and therapy sessions. A speech-language pathologist is trained in providing voice therapy to individuals with a voice problem. Therapy involves exercises that generally focus on breath support, movement of the vocal cords, resonance of the voice, relaxation of those muscles involved in voice production and posture.
Research: Government of Singapore is conducting basic and clinical research on the prevention, control, and treatment of voice disorder.
The risk factors uncovered are statistically and clinically significant and biologically plausible. There is a need for educational authorities and healthcare providers to develop effective and comprehensive prevention programs to arrest vocal attrition and its detrimental effects on the quality of teaching.